Just days after a deadlocked jury released Mr. Bill Cosby from criminal sexual assault charges, the news is that he plans to embark upon a national tour, a series of Town Hall events. First, who would come and would people pay, or would anyone attend at no cost at all? This man, a beloved iconic figure, with groudbreaking accomplishments under his career belt, is now rendered a ‘fallen son’. Though many of us, including myself, practically cut our teeth on this man’s comedy, movies and tv shows, memories will forever be fond in our hearts. Unfortunately, whenever a wave of nostalgia comes over, as we contemplate Bill Cosby’s life and worldview altering impact, there will surely be an afterthought,”…BUT HE…”.
Having not be proven guilty of the sexual assault charges by a jury of his ‘peers’, the judge had no choice but to declare a mistrial….this time. What confuses me is that since so many women accusers have come forth with allegations of Cosby’s unethical sexual advances and assaults, I can’t understand what took so long to bring these women to the fore. I think that the impact would have been greater if the claims were made during the height of his career. He certainly commanded more celebrity power, influence and his pockets were certainly fat[ter].
Most of these claims alleged that his misconduct occured at least 10 years ago. He was younger, not yet declared legally blind, and still a very viable commodity in Hollywood, in academia and probably politically, too.
Playing the devil’s advocate, if he spent so many years abusing female engenues, wouldn’t there have been rumors, gossip or some scuttlebutt around town, or among Hollywood insiders? And where were his friends at the time? His co-stars? People talk, and why weren’t there rumors that spread, or why was there never any coverage in the National Inquirer, Liz Smith or any other columnists…ever? Not a hint! No one is THAT good.
I am not doubting that this man had abused some of these women to some degree, male ego, a grab here or there??? Why not cry out afterwards or tell someone close to them, if not proceed to the nearest police station to restore their faith in justice or defend their rights as women to say ‘no’ and lucid when they do so? I understand the inner turmoil they must have felt and the wavering feelings of self-blame and self-defense. I understand that there must have been fear that people would not believe, would cast doubt and blame the victim, and the feelings of shame. A strong, intelligent woman would not allow that to happen. She must have done something to provoke the actions. There could have been responses from others that would mimic their disappointment in her, not him.
He could have forewarned them by reminding them that they were doing drugs, and who would believe them once that was discovered. He could have reminded each one that he has influence and power and it would be his word against hers. Who would believe a relative unknown, powerless female against the word of America’s favorite father and great philanthropist, too. All of these scenarios are possible, maybe even probable. Yet, that still doesn’t explain why more than 40 women didn’t come forth separately, and years ago. The laws of probability says that out of 40, at least 5 women would step forward, take to the streets and the court of popular opinion to raise ‘holy hell’. Damn the celebrity!
Now, though, Cosby is older, not bringing in the bucks and quite frankly, doesn’t have too many more years to be among us. Could it be the money card? Now that these women have found each other, are they looking for a paycheck, because at his age, what good would it do to place him in jail? He is already a prisoner within his mind, because of the loss of vitality, popularity, and his former appeal has been limited to older women. He is a grandfather, but with an awesome and rich legacy to be left behind. Would anyone really sentence him to prison, should a guilty verdict ever be delivered?
Bill Cosby’s guilt has not been proven, nor has his innocence. So, his next move for now is to travel and teach young men to avoid being the subject of charges of sexual assault or harassment. On the surface, a good idea. Deeper – the worst idea of the century!
All in all, Bill Cosby has been America’s most famous doctor, tv dad, and now he has become the target of some personal vendetta. He may have pissed off someone who asked a favor of his ‘influence’ to help open doors, launch a project, loan money to which he refused. Feelings were hurt and here we are now.
Or, there is another theory…the historically- systematic character assassinations and the targeted destruction of charismatic, successful and positive men of color, whose otherwise unblemished life and legacy will not be allowed to be written as such. Limit positive black male role models and limit potential of young black men to follow suit or believe it is possible for them to live productively. Don’t change the narrative!
Listen, we all are human, and ‘he without sins…’. But this man has been an activist, a philanthropist beyond any level to which we are aware. He has been a consummate family man, in his professional life. No ‘blue’ humor! No blue movies! It is unimaginable as to the millions, maybe billions that he made for the NBC network, not to mention JELLO brand. Cartoons, based on his life with family and friends during his growing years! This man was mocked by comedians about his dislike of profanity used on stage. He was the picture of ‘family’ values. Research his giving, donations, and causes he supported…all positive!
My cousin attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut with one of his daughters, or it was his son, Ennis. I forget, but all girls, one boy and he died. One wife, and she is still there. It is just hard to believe that the way Hollywood gossips, that when he was Numero Uno salaried artist who, by the way, launched many careers, he was not ‘de-throned’ when it would have had maximum impact.
Perhaps, it is just my own prejudice for what he did to challenge narratives and debunk negative stereotypes of the black family in America. Long before ABCs ‘Black-ish‘, which I absolutely love for both its humor and the subtle messages they deliver each week, there was Bill Cosby. No matter the ‘questionable’ allegations, he will always be the African-American role model who instrumentally became the change many wish to see. Noteworthy, not newsworthy or notorious, but a benevolent man who enjoyed a very private celebrity in an industry where privacy is rarely enjoyed. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Bill Cosby, our ‘Dr. Huxtable’!