Damn. The Bill Cosby allegations have been in and out of the front pages for the greater part of a year. Because of his celebrity status as one of America’s favorite Dads there had been battle lines drawn in the sand as long as Normandy Beach. On one hand you had the Bill Cosby apologists who felt that the Coz was the victim of a sinister smear campaign designed to destroy a source of positive pride and manhood within the Black community, and on the other hand you had the Bill Cosby dissenters-those who felt like Cosby was hiding something with his denials and double-talk.
Undoubtedly, many of the dissenters were actually upset with Dr. Cosby for years because of his string of speeches and appearances in which he denied the impact of racism on the Black community, belittled contemporary Black parenting skills and offended just about every Black household in America making below 30,000 annually for not making more money.
As was mentioned in an article written by The Shadow League in November 2014, allegations of Cosby’s alleged crimes were reinvigorated when comedian Hannibal Burress joked about Cosby’s persona and the rape accusations during a stand up performance in Philadelphia, Cosby’s hometown.
Likely spurned on by the sudden explosion of interest in the case, the list of women accusing Cosby of rape or sexual assault via drug cocktail jumped from approximately 13 victims prior to Burress' routine to the current tally of 39.
Though it is never good form to question the survivors of a heinous act outside of a court room setting, many did so for several reasons. First, it would not be the first time that there was a witch hunt to take down a famous, insanely rich individual. Except a very small number of the women making the accusations ever asked any money or even filed charges against Mr. Cosby.
Additionally, there was much circumstantial evidence pointing to his appetites. Such as the 1969 standup routine for his album It's True, It's True in which he joked about drugging women to have sex with them. Indeed, most African American comedians have much ribaldry in their early material. However, even the most politically incorrect comedian you could possibly think of never joked about rape. At least not any that I can recall.
But even if one were to get past that for the sake of avoiding personal hypocrisy, the manner in which Mr. Cosby became increasingly self-righteous and filled with hubris in his later years seemed a touch contrived, sudden and artificial. Almost as if he was trying to expunge some horrible sin from his memory. But his memory wasn’t the only one in need of expunging as dozens more women, both famous and common, have come out with additional claims.
But the Coz had a lot of very influential friends within the Black community swarm to his defense. Jill Scott, Cee Lo Green (facing accusations of his own), Whoopi Goldberg, Debbie Allen, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Vivica A. Fox and many others cast dispersion upon the integrity of the accusers while upholding Cosby as a paramour of human dignity, morality and a symbol of Black pride.
But a funny thing happens when a society doubts the words of women who makes accusation of rape and sexual harassment. By defending him they basically called each accuser a liar, an opportunist and a whore. Yeah, that’s pretty harsh when you see it written out like that, huh? The defenders, most of whom were African American women, are basically saying is ‘Because he is nice, is philanthropic, helped us in our careers and entertained us, Bill Cosby could not have done this.”
Though there was never any hard evidence, the insistence and proliferation of the accusers should have given them some pause. But they didn’t pause. They just kept running their mouths when discretion may have been the proper protocol.
“oh ok. So they've proven the alleged allegations?,” said Jill Scott via Twitter in 2014. “I didn't know. Will they also be giving him back the millions he's donated?
"U know Bill Cosby?" she continued. "I do child and this is insane. Proof. Period."
Respectfully, (expletive) his donations if they mean he gets carte blanche to rape at will.
Apparently, the cult of personality is one that infects media darlings as well, and I luh me some Jill Scott. (Yes, I said luh.) However, being the Philly soul sister that she is, it’s easy to see how she wanted to believe Bill.
Hell, most Black people I know wanted to believe Bill. But, doing so meant indirectly slut-shaming each and every one of those who came forward. Had it been a rapper or athlete who had been accused of such things it is this writer’s estimation that the overwhelming majority of those who’re defending Cosby would have at least reserved publicizing their opinion, or straight up expressed their disappointment with said celebrity in the media. But the cache of The Coz is considerable and has been for 40 years.
Back in December of last year the indomitable and regal Ms. Phylicia Rashad was eventually corralled into commenting on the allegations against her friend and former co-star after avoiding speaking about it earlier.
"Forget these women," said Rashad "What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who's doing it, but it's the legacy. And it's a legacy that is so important to the culture."
She would have been better off saying no comment because her defense of Cosby would was a by proxy dismissal of the claimants. When asked about the validity of statements made by internationally acclaimed model Beverly Johnson and former cover model Janice Dickinson Rashad responded “Oh, please.”
In closing, Rashad lamented that an unseen hand was likely trying to keep Cosby off TV. Unfortunately, that unseen hand may have been the one brandishing Quaaludes and sedatives in order to get in women’s undergarments.
It’s really sad. If ever there was story that I reported on that I secretly hope would be proven absolutely wrong this one is it. If ever there was a person that I have written a disapproving op-ed piece about, this is the one I wish qualified for a retraction or apology on my part. But recently revealed documents reveal why the media shouldn’t be the ones who are apologizing, but perhaps the Cosby apologists need to rethink their ideas of what makes a man worthy of praise and adulation other than money, fame and philanthropy.
After a long battle that was ferociously fought by Cosby’s legal team on the grounds that the information would “embarrass their client” the Associated Press obtained documents from a 2005 court case in which Bill testified he had obtained Quaaludes with the purpose of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with. He also admitted giving the drug to at least one woman and “other people”. Those other people were likely women as well. He testified under oath during a lawsuit filed by a former Temple University employee. He settled that lawsuit out of court in 2006 for an undisclosed amount. Cosby has never been formally charged because of statute of limitation associated with the charges.
Since these revelatory documents were published Jill Scott has since rescinded her support for Bill Cosby and expressed her utter disappointment and disgust at the entire matter. She explained her initial support of Cosby as a reaction to the history of American white supremacy that purposefully targets Black men. She also said that she would never needlessly jump on any bandwagons. Now, with these court documents, we find that it wasn’t the illuminati, the KKK or some other racist cabal hell bent on dethroning an African American icon. In the end, it was Cosby’s own tongue that bears witness to his deeds.