Why Cassandra Peterson Came Forward with Wilt Chamberlain Sexual Assault Claims Now (Exclusive)

Peterson claims Chamberlain assaulted her during a house party in the ’70s — and says stepping into Elvira’s shoes shortly after was actually like armor for her.

Inspired by the recent #MeToo movement in Hollywood, Cassandra Peterson — the woman behind Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — is speaking out about her own experience with sexual assault and sexual harassment in the industry.

In her new memoir, “Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark,” Peterson claims she was harassed during auditions, recalls being raped in her own apartment by a man she met at a bar and details an alleged assault at the hands of Wilt Chamberlain.

Peterson first met Chamberlain when he dated her roommate while she worked as a dancer in Las Vegas and, over the years, the two got to know each other well. She even referred to him as “Uncle Wiltie” and while she said he was always “flirtatious,” she always deflected his advances.

When she moved back to Los Angeles in the ’70s, she was invited to a party at his home and attended by herself, after a friend canceled at the last minute. Once there, she writes, the basketball legend — — who boasted about sleeping with 20,000 in his lifetime back in 1991 — offered to show her his impressive closet.

“Suddenly, with no warning, he grabbed me from behind, gripped my neck with one gigantic hand, and shoved his sweatpants down with the other,” she writes, saying he then forced her to perform oral sex on him and after, “stood there smirking while he pulled his fancy sweats up and tucked himself into his pants.”

His only comment to her following the alleged incident: “See? That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

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She went on to say that she felt a “deep sense of shame” for what happened and added that, “When a seven-foot-one, 300-pound man has his hand wrapped around your neck, there’s really not a lot you can do.” As for why she didn’t report it to the police, Peterson said she didn’t think the cops would believe her. She added that she never saw him again before his death in 1999.

When TooFab spoke with Peterson about the release of the book, she explained why she felt now was the right time for her to speak out and name names.

“Well, because of the #MeToo movement, I mean when that started happening,” she explained. “And I heard about so much of what was happening to other — whether they be actresses or anybody in any business, military women — I decided to share all my stories from over the years, hoping, honestly, that it would make somebody else feel like they weren’t alone in that.”

She also said she hoped her words would help men “kind of get it” and “think about” the positions women are put in.

“[People ask] ‘Why didn’t you just leave, why didn’t you do this?’ Oh, hi, because I wanted a career, I was working on something,” Peterson continued. “And there are so many stories of women. Sadly, I just read one the other day, an intern working at the White House in the State Department, I think, who somebody made a play on her, a pretty blatant one and she had to leave and her career was over.”

“You don’t go up against those people. People go, ‘Why didn’t you report that?’ about that particular thing that happened to me, ‘Why didn’t you report it?’ Oh, really? An out of work actress, ex-showgirl, you’re going to go up against somebody who’s a legend? What do you think’s gonna happen to you?”

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Peterson told TooFab there was a sense of catharsis that came with writing this specific chapter in her book, titled, “You’ll Never Work In This Town Again.” Since we spoke with her before the book was released and the reveal was made public, she was still concerned about the backlash she could receive once the memoir drops.

“I had never told anybody, almost no one in the world knows about that, my family doesn’t know. Nobody knows,” she said. “So that was the first and it was very hard to write about it, and I’m still, I’m still worried about backlash.”

“There are other celebrities have done this kind of thing and guess who gets blamed? The girl,” she continued. “I mean look at our justice system right now and Brett Kavanaugh, what happened to the woman that he did that to? Where’s she? What happened with her? He’s, you know, on the court. I’m sure she gets nothing but death threats and threats on her family and all names and it’s like, hello, she was the victim!”

The instances of assault in her book happened before Peterson found fame as Elvira in the early ’80s and, according to her, stepping into the character’s sexy goth getup and famous black ‘do was actually like armor for her.

“It’s funny, when I finally got started becoming Elvira and when I would show up as Elvira, nobody screwed with Elvira. I mean, nobody,” she told TooFab. “I could be around a whole gang of bikers and when they’d come up to my table to get an autograph or something, they’d turn into little whimpering little girls.”

“There’s just something about, all of a sudden, nobody was grabbing at me, hitting on me. It was just like, hands off,” she continued. “The costume and the whole persona became this awesome shield. Honestly I think guys quit trying to do that thing, you know, to me, which they done to me all my life as a redhead.”

“Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark” is out now.

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