tv 2020 ABC January 9, 2016 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
-[ groans ] and now, abc's "20/20." more than 50 women. more than five decades. their accusations against this one man -- bill cosby. >> you all can't fool me. >> but now, after all those "he said/she said and said and said and said," he's been criminally charged in a high-stakes case. >> america has been watching his stunning fall in slow motion. >> not stand up comedy but standing up in court on assault charges. >> mr. cosby, how do you respond to the charges? >> his signature sweater, now stripped of color. a stumble, and a cane, for the 78-year-old.
camille, her deposition in a civil case now on hold. tonight, some of the women and their accusations that have brought bill cosby to this turning point. >> they kept saying to me, "you're so beautiful. and you wanna be an actress? oh, you would be terrific. we have to introduce her to cos." >> i first met bill cosby in 1969. >> in 1976. >> in 1984. >> i was an aspiring comedy writer. american airlines. >> i was a singer/songwriter. >> i wasn't gonna go up against goliath. i would have never ever told anyone. >> it was time to put down my fear. >> we have a right to speak our voice. i don't need people to validate my opinion, and what happened. what i need to do is tell my story.
i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm david muir. >> after macing the court of public opinion, bill cosby now for the first time has entered a real court, charged with criminal assault and ift could send the comedian to jail. >> cosby's lawyers says they will fight the criminal charges and that his accusers are lying. tonight, you will hear from some of the dozens of women who have come forward with accusations hans against cosby. and they have, we should warn you, graphic dedale. >> 50 accusers. >> comedian charged with aggravated assault. and violated a woman more than a decade ago. >> reporter: it has been a long fall for the once powerful and revered entertainer, from magazine covers to mug shot.
bond, the now faltering elderly prison if convicted. there are people who say that that entire entrance into court, complete with the stumble on the step, was all choreographed. >> i don't think there's any question that the fact that bill cosby looks like a frail, old attorneys as a potential benefit. >> reporter: for years, a chorus of women making allegations, now one of them, for the first time, getting her day in criminal court. >> i think he never imagined >> reporter: it all hinges on claims made by this woman, andrea constand, 12 years ago. just last week prosecutors filing criminal charges, days before the statute of limitations ran out. constand alleging that cosby drugged and sexually assault her. and while he denies the charges,
disturbing stories told by a chorus of women spanning five decades. >> it is important for the world to know the truth. >> i felt dominated. >> sexually assaulted me. >> sexually assaulted me. >> i said stop it. >> bill cosby appears to think rape is a joke. well, let me tell you something, bill, i'm not laughing. >> reporter: to date more than 50 women have come forward. more then a dozen of them agreed to sit down and share their stories in unprecedented detail, as seen in a&e's documentary "cosby: the women speak." through his attorneys cosby has issued staunch denials. >> what i am saying is that mr. cosby has denied the accusations. the sheer volume or number of people who are saying a particular thing does not make it true. >> reporter: even after long
revealed he admitted to procuring quaaludes for extramarital sex. >> what we're so far are headlines that are grabbing one excerpt or two and then %-pmisinterpreting them. >> reporter: for his outraged fellow comedians, cosby has become a punchline. >> and sleeping beauty just thought she was getting coffee with bill cosby. >> reporter: leaving co-stars and friends in shock. >> what has happened is, declaration in the media of guilt, without proof. and a legacy is being destroyed because of it, it's being obliterated. >> reporter: cosby's own response to the firestorm, disbelief. >> i have been in this business 52 years. and i will-- i've never seen
and reality is the situation. and i -- i can't speak. >> reporter: the allegations against him start in the mid '60s, a time when bill cosby, a former temple university track star from philadelphia, was already on his way to becoming a legend for breaking racial barriers. his comedy albums were in black and white households across the country, and he was the first black actor to star in his own show, "i spy." "variety" called him "television's jackie robinson." >> it was a time when there was police dogs and fire hoses on the street. in the early '60s there were riots and chaos over poverty, racism, the vietnam war. you wanted to believe that that american spirit was still there. who better to exemplify that than a black kid from a humble house in urban philadelphia who
into people's homes. >> everything changes now. >> do you know anything about spanish fly? >> what? >> spanish fly? >> reporter: if the allegations against bill cosby are true they give haunting new meaning to one of his most famous routines, spanish fly. >> you know anything about spanish fly? no, tell me about it. well, there's this girl, crazy mary, you put some in her drink man and she's like [ unintelligible grunting ] >> i said, "it's too sweet." and he said, "no, no, no, you need to drink it and to loosen up." >> he said, "just ya know, just relax, have a drink first and then we'll get into the writing." >> then he put a pill next to my wine glass, he said, "here, take this. this will make you feel better." >> i was an aspiring comedy writer. my name is joan tarshis, and i am 67 years old.
1969 when he was shooting "the bill cosby show." i went with him back to the room where we had the lunches. >> reporter: she says he poured her a drink. >> very shortly after that i just got very groggy. and the next thing i know he was there taking off my pants. and i thought quickly and said i had a vaginal infection, which was a lie. so he stuck his manly parts into my mouth until he was finished and then i was given $10 and a cab to take me home. >> reporter: joan does admit she accepted another invitation from
onstage. >> i thought, "maybe we're going to a theater where there's lots of people so i'll be okay." we got into the limo, i think i had a drink there. >> reporter: joan claims she doesn't remember what happened next. >> the next morning when i woke up next to him naked and i just slipped out of bed feeling lower than dirt. >> my name is victoria valentino. i am a vintage playboy playmate. i'm a registered nurse. i'm an artist. >> reporter: victoria valentino says she and a friend dined with cosby in 1969, and that he knew she'd lost her 6-year-old son in a drowning accident. >> he knew that my child had died. and i was very depressed, you know? and he leaned across and he put
he said, "here, take this. this will make you feel better." and i thought great, you know. and i really never felt in any danger from him at all. and so i took the pill. i couldn't keep my head up. and i was starting to feel nauseated. and i said, "i wanna go home." >> reporter: but instead of taking the two women home, valentino claims cosby drove them to a small office. >> and then, all of a sudden, i realized everything was very, very silent. so i opened my eyes and i looked around and he got up came over to me and at that point, extracted his pound of flesh. i could hardly walk by that time. and i couldn't talk. he unzipped his fly, had me perform oral sex, then he stood
did me and he walked out. and if there is any question about why women don't report rape it's because it's so damned humiliating. you don't ever want to talk about it again. next, from the playboy mansion to cosby's home for christmas. and this woman says an assault, with his family not far away. >> to sexually assault me in his home on christmas eve, that's unbelievable. >> when we come back. d. you know the symptoms when they start. abdominal pain. urgent diarrhea. now there's prescription xifaxan. xifaxan is a newx ibs-d treatment that helps relievexyour diarrhea and abdominal pain symptoms. and xifaxan works differently. it's a prescription antibiotic that acts mainly in thetdigestive tract. do not use xifaxan if you have a history of sensitivityt to rifaximin, rifamycin antibiotic agents, or any components of xifaxan.
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>> reporter: cosby was also a regular at the playboy mansion in los angeles. and a recurring guest on the show "playboy after dark." the playboy brand meant style and glamour. >> i modeled for "playboy" magazine that year and the issue was coming out in november of 1977. my name is sarita butterfield and i was 22 years old when i met bill cosby. >> reporter: she says she'd never met cosby until one day when he called her on the phone. >> he said to me that he had saw my picture in the magazine and thought i was very beautiful. and he heard that i was an aspiring actress. and he says, "how would you like to join me and my family for christmas eve dinner in massachusetts?" wow.
everything was wonderful. and until later that evening -- i was in the guest house and i was alone. around me, grabbed me by my hair and pulled me back. and he was attempting to kiss me. he felt pretty entitled to touch me in parts that he had no right to. i said, "stop. i said, "your family is here." what was i gonna say? his intentions were to prey on me. and -- and to sexually assault me in his home on christmas eve. that was, that's unbelievable. i don't know. i've never gotten over it. i've never told anyone. and the worst is when you come
bunnies, my fellow coworkers and bunnies, they wanna know, "oh, my god, you, bill cosby, what was it like?" what can i say? it was wonderful. >> reporter: by 1972, cosby had a new hit cartoon -- the now-classic "fat albert." >> hey, hey, hey. >> reporter: and he was beginning to work in movies, even starring opposite sidney poitier in "uptown saturday night." >> you see what i saw? >> yes, i saw what you saw! you dead? >> reporter: his film career was about to take off. by this time cosby was a bona fide member of the international jet set. >> i was a flight attendant for american airlines. i met bill cosby in 1976. >> reporter: "elizabeth" is using an assumed name. she says to protect her family and her business. she says she had just turned 20 when she saw bill cosby on a flight from new york to los angeles.
autograph. he was very obliging and he said, "i'd like to take you to dinner." he took me to a place called he had a glass of sake. and i really didn't know what sake was. i did not drink or do drugs. but he said, "taste it, just taste it. you need to drink it to loosen it's bill cosby, what could it was literally like being under anesthesia and, um, trying to come out but you can't. after that, i don't know how i ended up in his hotel room. he undressed and he put on a robe and he sat down. and he told me to come over and
too hard to talk about. and then i started getting profusely sick and the driver got me in his car and i was throwing up in a rolls-royce and and the driver said, "you aren't the first." and i was filled with shame and guilt, i would have never ever told anyone. when we return, pitching products on screen. >> it's a snack because it's so rich and creamy. >> and she says pitching lies off screen as an acting coach. >> he told me to bring a monologue. >> reporter: showing her scrapbook, memories of what she calls a nightmare, next. (cell phone rings) where are you? p well the squirrels are back in the attic. mom? r your dad won't call an exterminator... can i call you back, mom? r he says it's personal this time... if you're a mom, you call at the worst time. it's what you do. r if you want to save
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>> reporter: ford, and coca-cola. >> real cola relief from coca-cola. >> reporter: the ads boosted his wealth and cemented a trust-worthy persona. >> this stuff is great. >> reporter: in private, a starkly different story was allegedly unfolding. >> my agent called me and said there was an icon who was interested in mentoring promising, young talent. my name is heidi thomas and i was 24 years old when i first met bill cosby. my first thought was, "wow, i'm promising, young talent." >> reporter: heidi says cosby called her and her parents to personally invite her to reno, nevada, for acting coaching in 1984. >> i thought it was nice that he called. he seemed to be intent on making sure we weren't worried about this trip.
such a point of saying, "everything's going to be fine." >> he told me to bring a monologue. because he was so squeaky clean, it never occurred to me that there was anything untoward i kept my tickets. >> reporter: thinking it was the chance of a lifetime, heidi says she kept everything. and 31 years later, she says she still has the plane ticket, and a scrapbook of photos of her trip to reno. >> it would have looked weird if i didn't keep a scrapbook about getting acting coaching from bill cosby, so absolutely, i took pictures. that's what i wore to the airport. there was a driver there to pick me up and he said, "oh, yes. there's been a change of plan. a friend of mr. cosby's has loaned him his ranch house." there's what i drove up to, right here, this big, verandas sprawling ranch house. rang the doorbell. bill cosby answers the door in his sweats and very casual and
>> reporter: heidi says she was shown her room and later cosby. >> he wasn't too impressed. he said, "let's try a cold read." so he handed me a script. and the person i'm supposed to be clearly is intoxicated. i do remember him saying, "heidi, have you ever been drunk?" and he said, "well, how -- how do you expect to play a role so he poured a glass and he said, "all right. this is your prop. you're gonna sip on your wine." and i literally -- i don't remember anything other than one sip. >> reporter: she says the next four days are a drug induced blur. but she says she does remember mental snapshots. >> my clothes were on. his were not. and i was lying down and he was forcing himself in my mouth.
hear his voice basically telling me that we're gonna be doing this again. and i thought, "this isn't why i'm here." and i have no memory of being taken back to the airport, of being greeted by my parents. >> reporter: several weeks later, she says she went to a show in st. louis to get answers about what happened. >> all i can say is that i just -- i wanted to make it right. did i remember things right? was this a nightmare? did he say he was gonna mentor me and not mean any of it? when it became clear that i wasn't going to get any answers to any of my questions, i wanted a picture with him. my parents and i never discussed this. not once. i didn't tell my agent.
allegation against the squeaky clean bill cosby -- who's she gonna believe? in the battle of public opinion alone, he was teflon. >> he really knew how to zero in on my insecurities and my vulnerabilities. >> reporter: in 1985, barbara bowman was living in denver, a 17-year-old aspiring model-actress. >> i had no father figure in my life, was an only child and he knew there were trust issues there. he could come to town to scout for new talented and i was selected as one of the talent. >> reporter: she claims cosby manipulated her into trusting him and later drugged and sexually assaulted her several times. >> i had one glass of wine and the next thing i knew i was coming to, slumped over the
looming over me in a white robe. and i was in my panties and a white t-shirt. i was sick, i was confused, i was foggy. but i knew something had happened. >> reporter: she says there was another incident in a hotel, in atlantic city. >> he attacked me, he came after me like a wild animal and tried to rape me and i was coherent enough to fight, and scratch, and scream and cry and try to rustle my way out of there. he had me pinned to the bed with his elbow under my chin and was ferociously trying to remove his belt buckle and pants while trying to get down my pants, and it was not gonna happen and i fought so hard that he eventually threw me away off the bed. he looked me square in the eye and he said, "i better never, ever hear your name or see your
>> reporter: bowman confided in a girlfriend years later who took her to a lawyer. >> when i went to a lawyer in 1989 he laughed me out of the office. who's gonna believe me? he's dr. huxtable after all, america's favorite dad. >> reporter: enter dr. huxtable and a runaway hit. and an actress who says he used >> nuzzled my neck and said, "this is making love. we're gonna make love." >> reporter: a "cosby show" cast member speaks up. >> something is goin' on. everybody is not auditioning. >> reporter: when we come back. p across america, people like basketball hall of famer dominique wilkins... p ...are taking charge of their type 2 diabetes... ...with non-insulin victoza . p for a while, i took a pill to lower my blood sugar. but it didn't get me to my goal. so i asked my doctor about victoza . he said victoza works differently than pills. and comes in a pen. victoza is proven to lower
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test text1 plain >> mr. mcmanus, your wife is having a baby in there. >> reporter: in 1984, the emmy winning nbc sitcom "the cosby show" would make bill cosby a household name for a whole new generation. >> will you look at this? they're in -- ah! i got you, i got you! >> reporter: cosby's dr. cliff huxtable and his family were educated professionals whose problems and popularity transcended race. >> dad, you're great. >> it was a really powerful message for the african american community for the whole world to know that we're a part of the american fabric. >> reporter: so many people wanted to be a part of it, including beverly johnson,
african-american model. she is one of more than a dozen women who shared their stories in a&e's documentary "cosby: the women speak." >> i was thrilled that they were interested in auditioning me for the show. i believe that there was even a possibility of a re-occurring role. >> reporter: in the mid-'80's, johnson says she was invited to cosby's brownstone to rehearse. next, she says he insisted she try a cappuccino. >> immediately i felt woozy. everything was spinning. and i was dizzy, and i knew i had been drugged. no doubt in my mind. he puts one hand around my waist. and i remember cocking my head and saying, "you're a [ bleep ], aren't you?" >> reporter: according to
a taxi. >> i was so disappointed. it was like a family member had done something to me. i knew that the kind of person i was dealing with would destroy me. >> my names is chelan lasha, and i was 17 years old when i met bill cosby. >> reporter: like johnson, chelan lasha says she admired cosby, she believed he was interested in helping with her career, when she was invited to his las vegas hotel, in 1986. cosby her photo, and he then offered to introduce her to the ford modeling agency. >> i was so excited. you know, bill cosby. bill cosby. i went to the hilton, he said that someone from the agency was going to meet me.
and they had left and i was he said, "here, this is an antihistamine," and it was a blue pill, and he gave it to me with a shot of amaretto. you know, he said, "it'll make you feel better." pretty soon i got to feeling kinda disoriented and it's like i couldn't move my body. and i was like -- like, kinda catatonic. he began pinching on my breasts and he was grunting. and i kept saying to myself, "dr. huxtable -- dr. huxtable," and i remember something warm up my leg and i -- and i was passed out and i woke up to him saying, "daddy said, wake up, daddy said, wake up." put about $1500 on the dresser. i thought i was gonna to be on "the cosby show," i thought he was gonna help me. and he didn't help me, he hurt
he made me feel like nobody. i felt like nothing. who's gonna believe me? i'm just a high school student. >> reporter: later in her life, chelan had run-ins with the law. she says the experience with cosby changed the course of her life. >> i hate that i met him. my life changed when i met him for the worse. you know, i've got a piece of my soul back, but it took a long time. >> the really big bucks are in show business. bill cosby is the biggest, an estimated $57 million this year. >> reporter: by the late 1980s, cosby was a powerhouse brand. forbes magazine rates him the highest paid celebrity in america, making millions from television commercials, stand-up shows and best-selling books. >> bill cosby was a titan in 1989.
>> reporter: that year, a 23-year-old eden tirl was cast as a police officer on an episode of "the cosby show." she claims she was singled out and called to cosby's dressing room where she was harassed. >> he closed the door and locked it behind him, pulled me into his body, squeezed me tight, nuzzled my neck and said, "see, this is making love. we're just going to make love. this is it." i cannot imagine -- i cannot imagine that there aren't people who were working in and around that set, that knew that something was going on. >> i didn't witness anything. >> reporter: joseph phillips played the role of martin kendall, denise huxtable's husband, from 1989 to 1992. >> but there was always a sense of something. and there were people
this parade that would come through of beautiful women. something -- something is going on. everybody's not auditioning, you know. >> reporter: but phillips says he didn't believe recent allegations against cosby until a friend of his who has not come forward told him privately that she had been assaulted by cosby. >> two hours later, i've listened to the whole story. and she says, "do you believe me?" i say, "yes, i believe you." it's a tragedy. he was well loved by millions and millions of people. >> reporter: next, after bill cosby spoke up from one stage. >> these young girls got no business having sex. >> reporter: a fellow comic would take him on from the stand up stage. >> yeah, but you raped women bill cosby, so --" s made for better things than rheumatoid arthritis. before you and your
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"20/20" continues we elizabeth vargas. v >> reporter: for the new millennium, cosby had a new image going from actor to activist using his fame to preach to the black community. >> he wins the biggest humanitarian award a civilian can earn from the president. and he's like, the best of american citizens and i go into the bathroom and throw up.
pregnant happen to be african-american girls. don't ask me to soften my message. >> the old cosby would've made a joke out of that. the new cosby wasn't really so much joking he was -- he was criticizing. >> respect for yourself. respect for others. these young girls got no business having sex. >> reporter: but in 2005, the veneer of the revered actor and father figure was starting to chip away. a woman from pennsylvania would file a civil suit with claims that would ultimately lead to cosby's day in criminal court. andrea constand, a former temple university athletic director, claimed that a year prior, at cosby's home, she took three blue pills that cosby had offered her and became barely conscious. she said he then molested her. cosby denied assaulting her and
were benadryl. eventually, 13 other women came forward to constand's attorneys with similar stories and offered to testify on her behalf. >> i said that's enough, i will not sit in silence any longer and no one believed this woman and i did because her story was >> reporter: but before any of the 13 jane does could testify, on november 8, 2006, the lawsuit was settled with a confidentiality agreement and sealed. little did cosby know that years later this case would come back to haunt him. and even back in 2006, that didn't stop the jane does from continuing to speak out. >> it was my calling to come forward and not stay a jane doe, that people knew my name that people knew i had the courage to come out, hoping to empower other women. >> reporter: the allegations faded from public consciousness,
footnote in cosby's decades long career. >> and i just had to shelve it, file it away and carry on with my life. >> reporter: a bestselling biography about cosby came out in 2014 that omitted any mention of sexual assault allegations. with a national comedy tour, cosby seemed primed for a late career renaissance. but, it would be another comic who would steal the spotlight and shine new light on old allegations. on a thursday night in october 2014, a blogger attended hannibal buress' standup set at the trocadero theatre in philadelphia. >> pull your pants up, black people. i was on tv in the '80s. i can talk down to you because i had a successful sitcom. yeah, but you raped women bill cosby, so -- >> reporter: the video of comedian hannibal buress calling cosby a rapist went viral.
a man is making a joke about it in his standup routine? and suddenly everybody believes him. >> there were many, many, many women that had come forward long before this comedian had said anything. so i think that's [ bleep ]. >> reporter: barbara bowman told her story yet again in an extraordinary article for "the washington post." the headline, "bill cosby raped me. why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?" >> the timing was right, i guess. the impact of social media is so immediate that people were listening. >> reporter: the story was suddenly a headline that cosby could not escape. in november 2014, cosby was asked about the allegations during an interview with the associated press. >> i have to ask about your name coming up in the news recently, regarding, this comedian. >> no, no. we don't answer that. >> okay. >> now, can i get something from you? >> what's that? >> that none of that will be
and i would appreciate it, if it was scuttled. >> reporter: when we come back, what's next in the court case, and could cosby go to jail? >> he's facing up to ten years behind bars. honey is magic, no doubt. i mean, you're eating sunshine. start with triscuit and honey, and then add on from there. the original triscuit. it starts simply with three ingredients. it's just a great little platform. there's endless combinations you can make. ricotta, drizzle a little on top of that. put a little dollop of honeycomb. a sourwood honey, probably is the best honey in the world. you're only limited by your imagination, and i love that.
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deposition buried by court order nine years ago in that civil case brought by andrea constand and unearthed earlier this year, cosby's own damning words from that deposition, admitting that he had given some women quaaludes, now being used against him by montgomery county prosecutor kevin steele. >> all bill cosby admits giving andrea that night was some benadryl. he does not say he gave her quaaludes. other women, yes, not her. >> and she's gonna say, "i remember what happened to me. benadryl doesn't do that to you." >> doesn't render you unconscious, incapable of moving. >> and that will become one of the legal questions in the case. >> reporter: and cosby's lawyer, monique pressley, is ready to fight that question as she also denies all the charges against him. >> he did admit to having available to him 40 years earlier the drug quaaludes, which was at the time a legal drug, and that he offered it to
consensually. >> reporter: the prosecutor's case is not a slam dunk. it is based almost entirely on testimony from the accuser, andrea constand, about an incident that happened 12 years ago with no forensic evidence to back it up. but there is that long list of alleged victims repeating a very similar story. >> whether all of these other women are gonna be able to testify is gonna be an enormous legal battle. >> and how does the prosecution argue that they should be heard? >> the prosecutors will argue that this was his m.o. his part, it was the drugs. it was the alcohol. >> reporter: meanwhile, as cosby fights the criminal charges in pennsylvania, his lawyers are also fighting in a massachusetts courtroom. >> lawyers representing seven women suing bill cosby for defamation say they plan to depose cosby's wife. >> reporter: and that's where seven of his alleged victims
against cosby. just a week ago, cosby struck back with a defamation suit of his own against the women including bowman, tarshis and separately against beverly johnson. >> these seven counter defendants have made false, malicious statements against mr. cosby. >> reporter: in fact, cosby's lawyers have denied all the allegations against him. but the accusers say they find strength in each other. >> i had the courage to come out. hoping to empower other women. i have gone from victim to victim's advocate. >> i knew i wasn't the only one. >> and you can't take that on by yourself. >> a woman drove by just two weeks ago and spit at me and called me liar. which really shook me up. nobody likes to be called a liar, nobody likes to be spit at. especially when you are not
>> the numbers started building, then you realize now it's not just me against the giant. >> it was me and you and you and you and you and you and you. >> and finally i told my daughter. >> reporter: many of these women say the first step towards coming forward was to tell their mothers, their sisters, their daughters. >> she was, like, so upset. and then i told her, "and i might be coming out with the story." she said, "no, don't, mom. do you want that for your legacy?" and then my daughter calls back and says, "you know i talked to my husband," and she said, "i want you to tell your story. and i want you to know that i'm behind you." >> i said, "mom, you know i couldn't have told you. no one would've ever believed me. it was bill cosby." and she just cried and cried and
cried and held me, like i was 19 again. >> here i am, 38 years later finally telling my story. no one would've ever believed me in 1976. >> victims can come forward, they can speak out. no matter how wealthy, no matter how famous, no matter how powerful you are, you are not exempt from justice and the law. >> and of course we will continue to follow this story and bring you all the latest developments. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm david muir. thanks for spending part of your saturday night with us. and enjoy the rest of your weekend.