Bill Cosby has been sued by five women who have long claimed that the comedian sexually assaulted them early in their careers.
The lawsuit has been filed more than a year after the 85-year-old was released from a Pennsylvania prison in 2021 when his 2018 sexual assault conviction was overturned, according to The Associated Press.
Earlier this year, a jury in Los Angeles awarded $500,000 to a woman who said that Mr Cosby sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was a teenager.
The lawsuit was filed in New York on Monday under the state’s Adult Survivors Act, which allows a one-year window for adults to file sexual abuse complaints.
The women - Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson and Cindra Ladd - allege that they were abused or assaulted by Mr Cosby after meeting him on set or through the entertainment industry between the 1960s and the 1990s.
The lawsuit also claims that NBC and television companies Kaufman Astoria Studios and Carsey-Werner Television are “culpable and liable” for the alleged sexual assaults.
The Cosby Show, in which Mr Cosby starred aired on NBC from 1984 to 1992, was produced by Carsey-Werner and was filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios.
“It was well-known that Bill Cosby would regularly take young women into his dressing room, and when you read the complaint, you’ll see there were instances where staff saw this happening and even encouraged the plaintiff to submit,” said lawyer Jordan Rutsky, who represents all five women.
“This was not a hidden secret that Bill Cosby was doing these things. It was just accepted.”
The lawsuit states that in some cases Mr Cosby drugged the women with alcohol or pills before allegedly assaulting them.
Andrew Wyatt, a spokesperson for Mr Cosby, said that the “accusers have resurfaced to file a frivolous civil lawsuit” against the entertainer.
Mr Cosby spent nearly three years behind bars before his conviction was overturned by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, which ruled that he had incriminated himself when he gave evidence in a deposition, believing he had been granted immunity from prosecution.
The trial judge and an appeals court had previously found no evidence of any immunity.