William Morris Endeavor want nothing to do with Billy Cosby or a sexual assault case against the much-accused comedian.
In paperwork filed in LA Superior Court yesterday, WME asserted that they should not be a co-defendant in Linda Ridgway-Whitedeer’s claims that the man once known as “America’s Dad” forced her to perform oral sex on him back in 1971.
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Having first went public with the alleged assault in 2015 as dozens of women came forward against Cosby, the plaintiff’s civil suit of September this year says that “at the time of the sexual assault, the William Morris Agency knew, or should have had knowledge of Defendant’s repeated acts of sexual assault.”
Now, the agency that Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell created out of the 2009 melding of William Morris and Endeavor proclaims they had “no control” over what did or did not happen 52 years ago.
“Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure …WME denies, both generally and specifically, each and every allegation contained in Plaintiff’s Complaint, and the whole thereof, and each and every alleged cause of action thereof,” the November 15 filed four-page answer to complaint, which you can read here, states “WME further denies that Plaintiff has been damaged in any sum whatsoever or is entitled to any relief of any kind against WME, in this action or otherwise.”
In her initial complaint of September 12, Ridgway-Whitedeer details how fellow William Morris client Cosby distinctly requested her in 1971 to audition personally with him for a role in the Robert Culp co-starring Hickey and Boggs film. It was in an “empty director’s office” in an LA studio with a “closed door” that the alleged assault occurred, quickly and ruthlessly it seems.
“Plaintiff, unable to breathe and in shock from what had just transpired, was unable to react,” the four-claim complaint says. “Defendant Cosby used a tissue to attempt to wipe his semen from Plaintiff’s face. Still in shock, Plaintiff was escorted to her car by Defendant Cosby. As she gripped the steering wheel, cheeks streaked with tears, Defendant Cosby, still next to the car, quickly retreated, passing in front of Plaintiff’s car as he walked away.”
Aided by her Jeff Anderson & Associates lawyers, Ridgway-Whitedeer was able to file the suit under a California law that went into effect at the beginning of this year that allows victims of sexual assault up to the end of 2026 to pursue civil remedies not matter how long ago the alleged crime occurred.
However, WME say sstatute of limitations should apply, and that Ridgway-Whitedeer “unreasonably delayed in bringing this action against WME and thereby prejudiced the rights of WME.” The agency goes on to say that “Plaintiff’s claims against WME are barred, in whole or in part, because Plaintiff’s alleged injuries and damages, if any, were caused by the independent acts, omissions, faults, negligence and/or other conduct of others over which WME had no control.”
Cosby was with the William Morris Agency and successor WME from 1964 until 2012. He then moved to CAA but was quietly dumped by them in early 2015 as more and more claims against him became known.
WME want the Negligence claim and more against them be dismissed with prejudice. As their parent company prepares to possibly go private, WME and their Greenberg Traurig attorneys (which includes Britney Spears’ lawyer Matthew Rosengart) also want Ridgway-Whitedeer to pay the costs of the suit.
Just like his team have in every allegation against The Cosby Show creator over the years, Cosby’s spokesman back in September said the comedian “vehemently denies the allegations waged against him and maintains his innocence as well as vows to fight these alleged allegations vigorously in the court of public opinion and in the courtroom.”
No hearing date for WME’s request to be dismissed from the case has been scheduled yet.
More than 60 women have claimed over the years that Cosby drugged and assaulted them, often with a combination of pills and alcohol. Kicking off years of legal battles, former supermodel Janice Dickinson formally took the matter to court in May 2015, in the first of several lawsuits. Since them dozens have followed suit, literally and figuratively. In the past couple of years, a New York law similar to those in California and Nevada lifted the statute of limitations requirements and allowed two former The Cosby Show actresses and three other women to sue Cosby and NBCUniversal last December over sexual assault and battery claims.
Cosby was sentenced to up to 10 years behind bars in 2018 by a Pennsylvania judge after a second trial for the rape of Andrea Constand. His sentence didn’t last that long, the now 86-year-old Cosby had his conviction tossed out in June 2021.
However, that wasn’t the end of the claims against him by any stretch. In September 2022, Cosby lost his attempt at a retrial over Judy Huth’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion when the plaintiff was a minor in the 1970s. A Santa Monica jury brought back a verdict for Huth in that civil case on on June 21, 2022. The 12-person panel awarded Huth $500,000 in damages. More lawsuits, like Ridgway-Whitedeer’s, have followed since from claims over the decades.
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