All Articles Tagged "Bill Cosby"

Bill Cosby’s Attorney Says All Women That Are Sexually Assaulted Have A “Responsibility” To Immediately Report It

August 1st, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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Bill Cosby

Source: HRC/WENN.com

After unsealed court documents from Bill Cosby’s 2005 deposition were released the actor and comedian has been put through the ringer. Under oath, Cosby admits to drugging numerous women with the intent of having sex with them by giving them Quaaludes.

Since its release, The New York Daily News labeled him “America’s rapist,” Spelman College ended its endowed professorship with him, and New York Magazine created a compelling cover story covering the stories of 35 women who have publicly accused him of sexual assault.

Despite the criminalizing stories, Cosby is finally fighting back with attorney Monique Pressley. Widely acclaimed and seasoned in her profession, Monique specializes in complex civil litigation, new business incorporation and development, and church law issues. Pressley joined HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill to discuss the allegations being brought against her client.

In the 47-minute video, she explains why she took on the role of Bill’s attorney, saying that he should be entitled to a “good and capable defense.” Throughout the interview, she stands her ground, making it clear that her standpoint on the case is that of a lawyer: innocent until proven guilty.

Pressley’s reaction to the sexual allegations was that all women who are sexually assaulted have a “responsibility” to immediately report it to create evidence of the crime, further explaining that the justice system can’t work unless women report sexual assault promptly:

“I’m not speculating, I’m not thinking, I’m not opining… What I’m saying is women have responsibility. We have responsibility for our bodies, we have responsibility for our decisions, we have responsibilities for the ways we conduct ourselves… I’m not talking about these women, I’m saying all women have responsibility… If a woman is violated by a man, and does not report, for whatever reason… in a court of law, the entire situation will never be brought forward for purposes of justice.”

Watch the video below.

“I’m Losing My Dad” Jill Scott Explains Exactly Why She Defended Bill Cosby

July 30th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Power 105.1

Many of us released groans and moans when Jill Scott stepped forward to tweet her support for Bill Cosby during the middle of firestorm where women were coming forward, all over the place, accusing Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them, over several decades.

Jill Scott, in many of our eyes is a woman’s woman. She’s sung and written so eloquently about our experiences that it seemed like when an issue, very particular to women, came up she would empathize with their issues. But that’s not what happened.

And after the deposition surfaced, where Cosby explained that he obtained Quaaludes to have sex (read: rape) women, Scott said that she could no longer defend him.

Still, yesterday during her interview with “The Breakfast Club,” Jill explained why she was initially so adamant about supporting him.

Charlemagne: You said being an artist and a Black man that is beloved is one of the most dangerous positions that you can be in, can you elaborate on that?

Jill: I remember the day when, I was in New Jersey, and I saw every kid with an Allen Iverson jersey. Every kid, everywhere. And I thought to myself, he’s in trouble. When you are looked past your skin and at your talent, when you looked past your skin and at what your bring to something that people love, that means you’re beloved, beyond the color of your skin, your race and all that. 

And it was maybe a month later, he was on the cover of The Daily News, in Philadelphia, with his braids out and he was two shades darker on the cover. It was like they had vilified him that quick. Bringing a lot of light and attention to the prospect of a human being simply being a human being, coming from a Black man, is dangerous in my opinion. 

Look at what happened to Michael Jackson, look at what happened to Kevin Clash, I’m talking about Elmo, how he was so beloved by everyone. I’m not trying to dismiss the fact that people have done some terrible, foul things, with the understanding that men all have proclivities. Rich ones, smart ones, dumb ones, backwoods ones, all men have proclivities. That just means something that’s natural to you that’s probably really bad. 

But what I see is that our heroes–and please understand–I’m from North Philly, Bill Cosby is from North Philly. That man was like a father to me. He showed me everything about life that I did not see in North Philadelphia, not just because I watched the television shows, but I did watch them. I watched “The Cosby Show,” “Fat Albert,” “A Different World” made me want to go to college. ‘College, ain’t nobody around my way going to no college.’ I appreciate and respect that legacy, still that’s a man. And I’ve always been about that with fame and famous people. 

But I felt the need to remember the Michael Jacksons, the Kevin Clashes and how people were really trying to destroy that legacy. 

What’s the dude’s name? Phil Spector. He killed a woman, tried and convicted but he’s still in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If I’m not mistaken, Elvis liked ’em young. I’m not saying that this is right. I’m saying that all men have proclivities and I really feel that whatever is done to some, do to all. Don’t decimate the legacy of the good. 

You’re trying to tell me that regardless of how much good I do in the world, if I do something bad, just something terrible, everything else gets pushed away. 

The history and list of men with dirty, terrible things–and guess what, the more money you get, the more easily and more apt you are to the worst things because they’ve always been in you. If nobody’s helped you or guided you or stopped you. 

Then Angela Yee asked what does she think should happen to Bill Cosby.

Charlemagne interrupts to say that the best thing for him to do would be to pass away.

So, Jill never got a chance to answer that question.

But she did continue

Jill: All I’m saying is that, looking at the big picture was the reason that I could not make any real decisions other than love. If it’s your father, if it’s your dad and 50-60, let’s say 100 people say something terrible about your father, the one that’s raised you, the one that’s been there, the one that took care of your skinned knees, and I’m not saying this because I saw the man on television. Bill Cosby has been good to me. He had his daughter drive to New York, to get something for my throat and I tore it up. I drank it everyday. It’s hard…

Charlemagne: You came out and said you had to stop defending him though.

It doesn’t look good. My mind is present. My heart did not want to believe anything negative about someone that I love and admire and respect so much but my mind is still present and I was like ‘Damnnit, there’s no way around this. It looks bad, it smells bad, it tastes bad.’ 

All I know is that I’m a human being and my love ain’t watery. And just cuz it got hot, it didn’t just jump and eviscerate and evaporate. People may not understand. You don’t understand I’m a person. 

And this man…If I could explain all the people who died in North Philly, especially when I was growing up. If I could explain the differences between myself and, I felt like, so many other people. I felt very alone. And I saw someone, just making strides, knocking down doors… It was inspiring to me. 

And I would hope that if the shoe was ever on the other foot, that something was being said about me that was terrible, horrible, vile and disgusting, I would hope that somebody who’s ever claimed to appreciate, love and respect me would be like ‘Wait, wait. I’m not jumping to anything. I’m going to hold tight.’ 

Other women on her thoughts on Bill Cosby

What I got from elder sister about the Bill Cosby situation, she said, ‘I don’t agree with you but you have the right to feel the way you do.’ Now, what the rest of the world didn’t know is at the same time, my father has dementia. So I’m losing my dad and I’m losing my dad…at the same time. 

I’m not looking for anybody to feel sorry for me, I’m just saying that I am a person and there’s stuff that happens in the course of life that other people don’t understand. 

As someone who had heard of Cosby’s sexual assault allegations in the past, there was no doubt in my mind that when these women started stepping forward again this year, there was a great deal of truth behind many, if not all of their stories. Still, it wasn’t a fact I took pride in. I wasn’t happy to be right about this one. I was disappointed in not only Bill Cosby but in the people who were so ready and willing to demonize the women who stepped forward to tell their story.

It was amazing to me that people who had never met or interacted Bill Cosby , and not Heathcliff Huxtable, were so willing to believe his complete lack of response over more than 40 women coming forward to say that he had violated them. It seemed that the only thing that made Bill more credible and reliable than these women were his celebrity status, the good work he had done for the community; when in actuality, one has little to do with the other.

And though I’ve been staunch and adamant about this guilt, I listened to Jill’s rationale and I understood it. This was someone who knew him personally. When she asked what Angela Yee would have done if it were her father being accused. And I agree with Jill, you can only love someone for what they’ve been to you. And for her, his impact and influence was huge. She didn’t stop loving him just because he had a history of being horrible and predatory, at the same time he was inspiring, giving back and uplifting. If many of us look over our own lives, we have someone like that in our lives as well.

But Yee’s question about punishment remains. And in their discussion, it’s unfortunate that more time was spent speaking about Bill Cosby’s legacy than there was time dedicated to the physical, emotional and psychological damage he perpetuated on these women, for decades. That’s a part of his legacy too. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Obviously he is a conflicted and hypocritical man. But a part of life is being held responsible for our actions. And if you love someone truly, you’ll want them to be held responsible as well. Since he might never serve time in jail, is it so unreasonable to remove a statue in his honor and cease to air the reruns from his decades-old television show? That’s the absolute least that could be done.

With that being said, Jill makes an impeccable point about what you do for one, do for all. There are far too many White men who haven’t had to pay as severely, or at all, for their shortcomings in the way that Black men often do.

You should definitely check out the entirety of Jill Scott’s interview. Y’all know she speaks the truth.

Penny For Your Thoughts: As A Spelmanite, I Have Mixed Feelings About The Way They Cut Ties With Bill Cosby

July 30th, 2015 - By Penny Wrenn
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Bill Cosby Spelman College

AP Images: Bill Cosby and Spelman President Beverly Daniel Tatum at Spelman commencement in 2006.

“Spelman thy name we praise” is not only the first line of Spelman’s school hymn, but it’s also a way of life. Rarely, if ever, will you hear alumnae from this historically Black college for women say a negative word about their alma mater. If anything, their feverish praise about having attended the school would likely come across as sounding too freakishly positive and damn near cultish. And, for nearly 20 years, I have been one of those only-has-freakishly-positive-things-to-say-about-her-experience Spelman grads (class of ’99).

Until now. When Spelman ended its Cosby professorship a few days ago (and, reportedly, returned the money associated with it), I wasn’t 100 percent supportive of the decision.

Alas, not being 100 percent supportive doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive. In fact, it’s my frustration about extremist reasoning and “black or white, either or, one way or the other” thinking that probably has me feeling conflicted in the first place. See, I’m privately ambivalent about Spelman College choosing to sever its relationship with the comedian because the decision implied that the school is no longer being publicly ambivalent about all the allegations surrounding Cosby.

By terminating the professorship affiliated with Bill Cosby, the Cosby-Spelman relationship went from being “on a break” to “breaking up.” After my alma mater put the professorship on hold last year, I thought it was a good call. The suspension showed a women’s college acknowledging the role that women’s rights and safety issues were playing in the changing perception of Cosby. It was a sensible and responsible reaction, without being overly reactionary, and it made a clear point by creating necessary distance from the actor and comedian without altogether alienating him. Suspending the relationship didn’t outright convey whether or not the school believed Cosby had committed any or all of the alleged behavior. It wasn’t a complete defense of “We support you–so let’s staunchly keep doing business as usual.” Nor was it an all out recoil of “We don’t support you–so take your money and shove it.” Rather, it said, “We don’t know if we support you or not, so let’s table this relationship for a while as everything is hashed out.” But now that the media reports a “termination” instead of a suspension, I’m still proud of my school, but somewhat disappointed about the decision.

Honestly, I was hoping that Spelman would hold fast with its “We don’t know if we support you or not” position. I interpreted their decision not to sever the Cosby-Spelman relationship as a powerful “We don’t know” stance. A strong show of ambivalence activism. In our opinionated times, where public uncertainty and delaying decisiveness is harshly criticized, I think we need more people on the ambivalence bandwagon.

Watching Bill Cosby’s fame turn into infamy, I certainly understand why people feel the way they do and why Spelman ceased its work with the Cosby endowment. Those New York Times-released deposition transcripts alone would make any woman want to take a few steps back from both the man and his name, if not 10 giant leaps. And whatever your social media stance on the matter (“unfriend me if you ____ Bill Cosby”), you can concede that while convictions from the court of public opinion aren’t the same as those in a real court, their lack of legality says nothing about their veracity or about how much they matter.

I’ll be frank: On the question of veracity, I’m tongue-tied. I avoid conversations about the whole Cosby mess because it has me neck high in uncertainty. I just don’t know. But I also know a few things about not knowing. I know that one shouldn’t need to know for sure that something happened in order to believe that it did; I know that there’s very little that anyone can really know without a shadow of a doubt; and I know that “I don’t know” is one of those phrases beyond which people hide their true beliefs. Still, “I don’t know” is my bottom line right now on the Cosby matter. And I really admired that my alma mater seemed to be saying “I don’t know,” too. 

I don’t care where you stand on the Cosby matter or who you think did or didn’t do what to whom. You can acknowledge that the word imbroglio applies to the whole thing. Like I said before, it’s a mess. If it were a case on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Sgt. Olivia Benson would need a 100-episode story arc over multiple seasons just to declutter all the details. And Det. Elliot Stabler would have to come back to help her.

Now, I love me some Olivia Benson, but I’m a bigger fan of Spelman College than I’ll ever be of SVU. Still, I wish my dear beloved alma mater had held off on the urge to render its own resounding “Dunh! Dunh!” of the Law & Order gavel.

Payoffs And Pills: The Most Shocking Details From The Leaked Cosby Deposition

July 27th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

The shocking details of Bill Cosby’s 10-year-old confessions from a deposition have left a lot of us confused and disturbed. Maybe if supporters had known all this information, they would have abandoned the cause months ago.

35 Bill Cosby Accusers Cover New York Magazine In Arresting Piece

July 27th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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cosby accusers feat

It’s one thing to hear a number and try to conceptualize it in your head, but it’s another to see that number represented with actual people. New York magazine showed us this with their July- August cover.

It features 35 of the 49 women who accused Bill Cosby of either drugging or raping them over the past four decades.

New York interviewed these women, collecting each of their stories in video, text and audio format.

In an essay accompanying the interviews, Noreen Malone explained how Bill Cosby and his accusers have illuminated the issues centered around rape culture.

The group of women Cosby allegedly assaulted functions almost as a longitudinal study—both for how an individual woman, on her own, deals with such trauma over the decades and for how the culture at large has grappled with rape over the same time period. […] The first assumption was that women who accused famous men were after money or attention. As Cosby allegedly told some of his victims: No one would believe you. So why speak up?

You can read and listen to some of the stories on the following pages.

Spelman College Ends Professorship With Bill Cosby

July 25th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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WENN

WENN

After suspending its William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship last year, Spelman College has decided to part ways with Bill Cosby by discontinuing his professorship.

The prestigious and historically black liberal arts college for women shared the news with The Associated Press on Friday (July 24). The decision came about after parts of an unsealed deposition from 2005 regarding his controversial sexual-assault lawsuit surfaced. The files document his testimony, in which he admits to giving Quaaludes to women in hopes of having sex with them. Before the documents were uncovered, Cosby denied the accusations of drugging and assaulting women, saying that all activities were consensual.

Spelman’s endowed professorship was created to bring positive attention to the college and attract the best scholars to the campus after receiving a $20 million donation from Cosby and Camille. Since 1998 the Cosbys have continued to donate to the college, becoming a major influence on the campus. However, the newly released documents have given Cosby a bad reputation, which will also reflect poorly on the institution.

A The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship at Spelman College has been discontinued and related funds have been returned to the Clara Elizabeth Jackson Carter Foundation.”

The Saddest, Craziest And Most Controversial News Stories From The First Half Of 2015

July 20th, 2015 - By Opal Stacie
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Doesn’t it feel like we just welcomed in 2015? We’re already more than halfway through the year and so much has happened. As we move into the second half of 2015, we thought it would be a good time to press rewind. We’re taking a look back at the news and drama everyone was talking about in the first six months of the year.

Bobbi Kristina

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Bobbi Kristina was hospitalized

Bobbi Kristina, daughter of the late, great Whitney Houston and ex-husband Bobby Brown, was found unconscious in her Atlanta condo on January 31. Since then, Bobbi Kristina’s condition has deteriorated, her family has repeatedly blabbed to the media, and her partner, Nick Gordon, has been accused of abusing her. The rest of us continue to wait with baited breath for updates on her condition as she has been moved to hospice care.

They Made Me Sleepy: Bill Cosby Explains Why He Never Took Quaaludes He Gave To Women In Deposition

July 20th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Bill Cosby

Source: HRC/WENN.com

It was only a matter of time before more information from Bill Cosby’s incriminating deposition from 2005, would come to the light.

That time has come.

Documents from over four days worth of testimony, ten years ago in a Philadelphia hotel have been released and The New York TImes, has highlighted some of the quotes. Throughout the questioning, The Times says Cosby comes across as annoyed, mocking, occasionally charming and boastful.

He spoke about several women he had sexual relationships with, including a 19-year-old model, another woman, and the woman who was at the center of the lawsuit Andrea Constand, a young woman who worked as a Temple University basketball manager. Thirteen women supported her testimony saying that they’d had similar experiences with Mr. Cosby.

Cosby managed to keep the deposition private all these years but interest in the document grew after a federal judge unsealed a 62 page memorandum of law in the case that was settled in 2006. Up until now parties involved had been prohibited from releasing the memorandum because of a confidentiality clause that was a part of the settlement agreement. The deposition itself was never sealed.

In it, Cosby shares his views on consent, sexual rendezvous and why he never took the Quualudes himself. You can read them below.

Cosby explains how he knew his sexual encounters with Constand were consensual. 

I walk her out. She does not look angry. She does not say to me, don’t ever do that again. She doesn’t walk out with an attitude of a huff, because I think that I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them.

On whether he ever discussed his sexual relationship with Constand

I am a man, the only way you will hear about who I had sex with is from the person I had it with.

Q. Why is that?

A. When I was a boy it was a thing that girls used to say, please don’t tell anybody. But it is something that I’ve learned as you grow older that they’re the first people to go and tell somebody after something has happened.

Quaaludes

In the 1970s Cosby admitted to securing seven prescriptions for Quaaludes over a period of 2-3 years from a Los Angeles doctor. He told the doctor he had a sore back. He testified that the doctor probably knew he wasn’t going to be taking them himself.

Q. You testified that he knew you were not going to take them. And I’d like to — explain your answer. How did he know that, or why do you say he knew that?

A. What was happening at that time was that that was — Quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case.

Cosby said he never took the Quaaludes himself because they made him sleepy.

Q. Why didn’t you ever take the Quaaludes?

A. Because I used them.

Q. For what?

A. The same as a person would say have a drink.

Hiding his behavior from Camille 

According to The Times, there were several instances where Cosby talked about the measures he took to hide his behavior from his wife Camille. He paid many of the women off, including Constand, by paying for her tuition not through his educational fund by from personal checks.

Q. And our being who?

A. The family.

Q. Would your wife know about that?

A. That’s family. My wife would not know it was because Andrea and I had had sex and that Andrea was now very, very upset and that she decided that she would like to go to school or whatever it is. We can get back on track.

Q. How would you explain to your wife that you were giving this personally as opposed to using the foundation?

A. I would say to her that there is a person I would like to help.

This was the same practice he employed with another woman. Therese Serignese said that Cosby drugged and took advantage of her. Cosby sent her $5,000 from the William Morris Agency and Cosby reimbursed them.

Q. And did that come from your personal account or from the business?

A. That’s from my personal account.

Q. So, was the purpose of that to disguise —

A. Yes.

Q. I have to finish my question. Was to disguise that you were paying the money to Theresa?

A. Yes.

Q. And the reason you were doing — who were you preventing from knowing that?

A. Mrs. Cosby.

At one point Cosby’s caviler attitude caused Constand’s lawyer, Dolores M. Troiani, to ask Mr. Cosby if he was taking the proceedings seriously.

Q: I think you’re making light of a very serious situation. 

A: That may very well be.

Ugh.

Clearly, Bill Cosby has been completely misinformed about the notion of consent from jump. A part of me feels like, in his sickness, this man really believes he can “read women.” Funny how despite his professed intuition he still has to drug women to have sex with them. Disgusting.

Whoopi Goldberg Changes Stance On Bill Cosby + Former Cosby Show Star Says He’s Guilty

July 14th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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WENN

Whoopi Goldberg has seen the light.

In today’s episode of “The View” she admitted that with all the evidence stacked against Bill Cosby, it would seem that he is indeed guilty.

Here’s how it went down. Today, in a segment by herself, Goldberg was joined by legal analyst Dan Abrams who was there to break down the legality of the case.

You may remember that Whoopi argued, even after Cosby admitted to drugging women to have sex with them, that he was still innocent because he hadn’t been arrested. Abrams told her today that that is because in many states, that statue of limitation, in these various states, have expired, ensuring that Cosby could not be prosecuted for his alleged crimes.

Whoopi didn’t know this.

She said:

“I always thought that rape cases were open-ended. You’re saying that all that is left to these women is the court of public opinion.”

“If this is to be tried in the court of public opinion, I got to say all of the information that’s out there kind of points to guilt. I always thought they would have the opportunity to take him to court.” 

“You’ve got a serial rapist, he’s been on the streets for 30 years,” she added. “I have to say I thought that, ‘Yeah, here’s all the information, take his ass to jail. I find out from you that that’s not possible. So I can’t say anymore ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ I can’t say that anymore, because there’s no way to prove it.”

Most of us knew this. But perhaps the most useful and productive part of the discussion came when Whoopi and Abrams talked about how the state shouldn’t put limitations on the time frames in which women are able to come forward, bringing their rapists to trial.

At the end of the segment, Whoopi even encouraged viewers to contact their state representative and contact them about the statue of limitations on rape cases.

I’m not going to come for Whoopi. Because to me, there’s no victory in being “right” with this type of story. Furthermore, as a person who loves to be right more than…a lot of things, I can speak to the difficulty and the righteousness in coming forward and admitting that you were wrong. That’s me though. There’s no telling the type of damage victims of sexual assault, particularly Bill Cosby’s victims, endured hearing these notable, respected figures in the media question their stories.

You can watch the full segment below.

Find out which former “Cosby Show” cast member believes Bill Cosby is guilty as well, on the next page.

What Do We Do With Bill Cosby’s Legacy Now That It Has Been Tarnished?

July 14th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Bill Cosby's legacy

Image Source: Viacom Enterprises

There is little doubt that at least in the court of public opinion, many of us now believe the allegations that Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted more than 40 women.

The question is, what do we do now?

It appears to be a question that folks in all segments of society have been mulling over. On one side of the debate are the folks who feel like Cosby must fall. That includes the people who created a petition to present to the White House demanding that Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom be revoked. And the activists who are asking for Cosby to be removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That also includes the folks at the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program who are “hastening” the removal of a painting titled “Father’s Day.” It features the Cos alongside other historical Black father figures like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

But on the other side of the debate are the folks who don’t know what should happen to Cosby now that many believe he is a sexual predator. One of those folks questioning the Cosby backlash is Chuck D of the legendary rap group Public Enemy. He had this to say on Twitter a couple of days ago:

“We are living in a wild bizarre time. Character assassination very real DrCosby & ConFed flag down in same week.Status is currency to masses. No way Im defending Cosby.But this wiping history out wit a swoop is akin to Nazi book burning.Context is everything.PhilSpector still plays. Question do some of yall start stop listening to Marvin Gaye records because of drug addiction? Attempted murder? Wife Abuse? Pedophilia?”

And Chuck D is not alone in his trepidation of tarring and feathering Cosby’s reputation. According to an article by the Associated Press, the Smithsonian Museum is sticking with the Cos as well. As reported by the news gathering organization, officials of the world’s largest museum recently met privately to decide if the institution should continue showcasing Cosby’s private art collection. Parts of Cosby’s collection is being showcased during the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art’s 50th anniversary. Some never before seen artwork includes “paintings by one-time slaves, pieces commissioned for the Cosbys, a piece by Cosby’s daughter and quilts made in tribute to Cosby and his slain son, Ennis.”

The exhibition has also been fully funded by the Cosbys through a gift of $716,000 to the museum. As no surprise to most, Smithsonian officials ultimately decided the exhibit would continue. And as one official told the AP: “First and fundamentally, this is an art exhibit,” Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian’s under secretary for art, history and culture told the Associated Press. “So it’s not about the life and career of Bill Cosby. It’s about the artists.”

I would like to think that it is just about the art. There is no doubt that Cosby provided wholesome and culturally rich entertainment to the Black masses. I’m talking Uptown Saturday Night. I’m talking Fat Albert and the Junkyard Gang (featuring the Brown Hornet). I’m talking The Cosby Show. I’m talking about Leonard Part 6. And I’m talking about A Different World. On screen, Cosby made us look good. So why would we want to disassociate ourselves from that image?

Rape is a serious crime, and the abuse of women is a sickness that our society should care more about.  Still, most of the great figures in history are complex, and sometimes disgusting personalities. And we choose to remember them for the great works we believe they have contributed to society and culture. If we start tearing down the statues of everyone who sinned as much as they were saints, then who really is worthy of a statue?

But Cosby has always been a moralist and a conservative who goes on tours blaming Black people for our own oppression in America. He told us to pull our pants up, stop buying our kids Jordan sneakers and quit stealing poundcake. We needed to be dignified and respectable at all times. And maybe, just maybe, folks would respect us and stop being racist to us. And while he was telling us to stop being shiftless and engaging in criminal behavior, he was buying quaaludes with the express purpose of having sex with unconscious women.

And he was also preaching dignity and respectability all while Black people have been steadily dying, starving and pushed aside in the streets of America. Cosby has publicly said before that he thought Black people whined too much about racism. And it is a theme that has shown up, even more subtly, in a lot of his work. As noted recently by Chauncey Vega in a piece for Salon titled, “How ‘The Cosby Show’ duped America: The sitcom that enabled our ugliest Reagan-era fantasies”:

“The Cosby Show” was set during the 1980s and early to mid 1990s in New York City. This was a tumultuous time of protest activity, anti-black and brown police harassment, brutality and killings, tensions between African-Americans and Koreans, anxieties about black “super predators,” “wilding,” the Central Park Five, the Crown Heights riots, and the racist murders and assaults on black youth by white racists in the neighborhood of Howard Beach.

In that context, consider the following:

Theo Huxtable was never harassed by the New York City Police Department because he was a young black male.
Cliff Huxtable was never stopped by the police because he drove an expensive luxury automobile.
Claire Huxtable was never racially profiled while she shopped in an exclusive boutique or high end retail department store in Manhattan.

And Bill never talked about why his character opted for a private practice out of his house instead of working in a hospital. It could have been racism, or it could have been those allegations, who knows… The point is, The Cosby Show did a lot of work to mask the issues in the Black community, albeit artistically, and make White people feel a little less guilty about racism.

Short of locking him up and away from women and medicine cabinets, there are few other suitable options left to match the crimes he has been accused of. But perhaps the rejection of his art, including the tearing down of his monuments and the lessening of his public image, is a rejection of what made his art relevant in the first place?

What are your thoughts?