Once, he was regarded as “America’s Dad”, but now, he’s also known as a sexual predator. And while he still has many supporters, his name is permanently tarnished.
Bill Cosby was heavily admired with bringing forth a brand images of blackness that struck not only presented some new shit to the mainstream but has also brought with it a form of black respectability with a side of family-friendly comedy that was limited in the media landscape.
While Cosby was pushing envelopes, however, he was also apparently pushing up and into numerous women without their consent. 60 women accused the comedian and actor of drugging and sexually assaulting them while being passed out. It’s been brought up before several years ago, albeit not at the magnitude it is now, but it wasn’t until late 2014 that another comedian Hannibal Buress made a joke about it that more women came forward. With each new face came new cracks in Cosby’s career, his future projects his overall wholesome image and his legacy.
Click on this Wikipedia page for more information on the history of Cosby’s allegations.
Fast forward to today and to make a long story short, a trial is set on June 5, 2017. After several days, it is declared a mistrial. However, prosecutor Gloria Allred declare that the fight is not over.
ABC News has a timeline of events leading up to the first day of the trial.
So, here are my thoughts about the whole story, and please leave your thoughts in the comment section.
I honestly liked Bill Cosby during my much younger days. He made me laugh with his pseudo-drunk, primarily family friendly humor. I especially loved his stand-up comedy film Bill Cosby: Himself. But I never saw him as anything more than a talented, hardworking man in show business, and I admired him for that.
In all honestly, I was shocked and dismayed by the flood of sexual assault allegations that came pouring after Hannibal Buress’ viral comedy routine. But I kinda was disappointed in Cosby a decade prior with his now-infamous “pound cake speech” in which he morphed into a conservative grandfather scolding at Black America for, as he implied, not doing better as our ancestors hoped for in their struggles.
The speech was polarizing. Some black folks agreed, believing that it was a harsh but imperative lecture. However, others heard the personality responsibility and respectability political tones throughout Cosby’s words which were – at its core – useless in a racist nation where black people would be despised even if they wore top hats, tuxedos and spoke Oxford English.
And like the accusations, trial and fallout that came afterwards, opinions on Cosby are still heavily divided. There are people who condemn him, believing what he did was unforgivable and hoped that he would be sentenced for the rest of his twilight years in prison. However, Cosby still has faithful followers, some of them believing he was targeted. They think there’s a plot against him due to his legendary status, his wealth and his failed bid to purchase NBC. Whatever theories abound, people cannot fathom Mr. Cosby of being a sexual predator.
The problem is people almost never fathom any man, especially one of considerable fame, great wealth and many accomplishments, of having a dark side. And with the history of racism, whenever a black man is accused of rape, we always assume that the victim is lying and scheming, especially if she’s a white woman. We condemn the victim for trying to send another black man to jail, and if he’s rich, we think she’s a worst kind of gold digger looking for a way to sue, collect cash and ruin his reputation and power. Like it or not, it’s a symptom of rape culture and victim blaming.
We can easily say how there’s no proof Cosby raped those women, that’s it’s just hearsay. We can support his claims that he’s innocent. We can latch on to conspiracy theories. And we can wonder why the accusations have emerged during a period of tepid racial tension, even though it’s been brought up before in the past and many of us weren’t paying attention. But we have to come to grips that Bill Cosby, the historic idol who pioneered television with his creativity, humor, wisdom and drive just might be a serial rapist, even when remembering his glory days watching The Cosby Show on TV One.
That is if you are watching.