Janis Ian: Bill Cosby tried to ban me from TV because he thought I was gay

Veteran singer-songwriter Janis Ian has claimed that Bill Cosby tried to get her banned from TV – because he thought she was a lesbian.

The folk singer, who found success as a young teenager with song ‘Society’s Child (Baby I’ve Been Thinking)’, spoke out about a run-in with the comedian during a TV show taping.

In a Facebook post, she wrote about an experience after an appearance on the Smothers Brothers show.

She said: “We taped the show. I had a ball.

“A while later, my manager called me into her office. ‘What happened at the Smothers Brothers show?!’

“I had no idea what she was talking about, and said so. ‘Well, no one else on TV is willing to have you on. Not out there, anyway.’

“Why? I wondered. And was told that Cosby, seeing me asleep in the chaperone’s lap, had made it his business to ‘warn’ other shows that I wasn’t ‘suitable family entertainment’, was probably a lesbian, and shouldn’t be on television.

“Again, a reminder. I was 16. I’d never slept with a man, I’d never slept with a woman. Hell, I barely been kissed, and that in the middle of the summer camp sports area, next to the ping pong table.”

She added: “Cosby was right in one thing. I am gay. Or bi, if you prefer, since I dearly loved the two men I lived with over the years.

“My tilt is toward women, though, and he was right about that.

“But what an odd thing, that a black man who slept with so very many white women chose to take my possible lesbianism away from our one meeting, rather than the message I tried to get across with ‘Society’s Child’.

“How pathetic. How truly, truly pathetic.”

New York magazine recently launched a controversial cover showing 35 women who are accusing Cosby of sexual assault. The entertainer denies all the charges.