All Articles Tagged "Bill Cosby"

Why Black Women Don’t Report Their Sexual Assaults

March 25th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Why Black Women Don't Report Their Sexual Assaults

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I’ve been gravely disappointed during this ongoing Cosby scandal. Partially because the Bill Cosby I’d watched and admired was now marred by this scandal but mostly because of the people in my circles who tried to demonize the women who spoke out against him. After all, I never knew Bill Cosby. I do, however, know the family members, friends, distant associates and others who asked questions like “why are these women just now coming forward?”

Sad.

This type of thought pattern just showed that there is a gross ignorance among people about sexual assault and what happens, emotionally and psychologically, to the women who have endured it.

And while I’ve tried to fight the good fight on my Facebook page and in conversations where it happened to come up, explaining that there is no set way to process trauma; now there is empirical, anecdotal evidence to support what I had been saying all along, especially as it pertains to Black women.

A New York based human right’s organization, called Black Women’s Blueprint, is conducting an ongoing study which found that nearly 60 percent of Black women have been involved in a coercive sexual assault by the time they are 18-years-old.

And in relaying her own story, one of these women explained in an article with Raw Story why it’s so hard for Black women to report their sexual assaults to the authorities.

If we report our assaults to police, we risk being retraumatized not only by the inhumane process of reliving a violent experience through sharing its gory details – but also by the violence of the criminal justice system itself , which treats rape victims like suspects . Worse yet, the police themselves commit assault with impunity ; often, they target black women in particular , knowing our existence at the intersections of racism and misogyny make crimes against us far less likely to be investigated .

To be a “ good rape victim ” is to immediately report your assault to the police (even knowing you will likely never see “justice” ), but to be a good black person is to avoid the police entirely because your life quite literally depends on it . The tightrope walk is impossible.

These words sound alarmingly like the ones Beverly Johnson wrote when she detailed her sexual assault with Cosby. You might recall that she hesitated coming forward because, with all the racial tension in the country these days, she didn’t want to be the Black woman attempting to drag a Black man down.  

She knew before the essay was even published that she would be in for a world of scrutiny and judgement.

And she was right. My heart broke as I watched people, some of them MN readers (women), call Johnson everything but a child of God for daring to step forward with this story.

If Johnson, with her illustrious career and the respect she’s earned in the industry, was torn down in this way, imagine what happens to the “unknown” women who tell their doubting family members and law enforcement officers about their own sexual assaults? The outcome is not likely to provide any closure. In fact, the experience of being doubted, questioned or further victimized might just result in even more trauma.

To paraphrase one of my Facebook and real life friends: ladies and gentlemen, the women in your life, who’ve been quietly living with the secrets and burdens of their own sexual assaults, are watching you and your reaction to this whole Bill Cosby situation, wondering if they should continue to remain silent and whether or not you’ll doubt them too.

#WontHeDoIt! ‘A Different World’ Is Coming To Netflix

February 25th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Every few weeks, Netflix revamps its content and sends or takes away our favorite gems. The New York Observer has announced the news we’ve been waiting for: A Different World is coming to Netflix! The hit ‘90s show that inspired us to go to college never gets tired. And we’re excited to be locked up in the house to catch up on the lives of Denise, Whitley and Dwayne. Netflix will also be adding the seventh season of Mad Men and Halle Berry’s film Frankie & Alice

It is a surprise, though, that Netflix is supporting the work of Bill Cosby after canceling his November 2014 comedy special  due to the mounting sexual assault allegations against him. Cosby created A Different World as a spin-off for The Cosby Show to showcase Huxtable daughter Denise’s college experience.

The complete season of A Different World will debut on March 15.

Bill Cosby Faces Protests & Ticket Refunds As He Heads Into Denver This Weekend

January 14th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

As the Bill Cosby scandal rages on, Ticketmaster has decided to offer refunds for the Bill Cosby shows scheduled at the Buell Theater in Denver this coming Saturday.

While some locations have outright canceled Cosby’s shows, the Mile High City has let the show go on. But Denver’s City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd as well as other members of the council have taken a very public stand against the comedian’s show.

She actually abstained from voting on the concert promoter’s incentives contract during a recent city council meeting which, if passed, would extend the current incentives through 2015. It would directly benefit AEG Live , the promotion company hosting Cosby.

She and others will be protesting. “More than 3,000 tickets have been sold for the two shows scheduled for Saturday while an organization called Turn Back Cosby has planned a protest outside of the Buell Theatre at the same time,” reports The Daily Beast.  Even attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing some of Cosby’s alleged victims, is said to be attending the protest.

“There are people who are hurting. And this doesn’t feel good..this feels uncomfortable,” Shepherd said. “Victims of abuse often don’t feel free to speak up. I feel like it was very important for those people in our community to hear from a member in council, a woman in leadership–willing to be sympathetic to how they feel and to stand for them in this situation.”

AEG is going ahead with the show because Cosby has not faced legal repercussions. Cosby is facing sexual-assault allegations from more than 15 women but he has yet to be charged, reports KUSA-TV, an NBC affiliate.

Beverly Johnson’s Ex-Boyfriend Sues CNN For $19 Million Due To Defamation

January 13th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Former supermodel Beverly Johnson talks life after Cosby allegations: "It's been a whirlwind month." In December, she accused Cosby of drugging her.

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From TMZ

An ex-boyfriend of Bill Cosby accuser Beverly Johnson is suing CNN for allegedly defaming him by talking crap about him to TMZ.

Johnson was contacted by CNN for a special that focused on her accusations. TMZ broke the story … Cosby’s lawyer urged the network to interview Mark Burk because he lived with Johnson for 4 years, and would say she only had praise for the comedian and never mentioned drugging allegations.

We contacted CNN before the show aired, and ended up with a letter the network sent to Cosby’s lawyer saying Burk was a criminal with an ax to grind and lived with Johnson long after she was allegedly drugged. As a result they said he was not included in the special.

Read more about this case against CNN at TMZ.com

Bill Cosby, His Accusers And The Way We Treat Women Who Say They Are Victims Of Sexual Assault

January 13th, 2015 - By Alexandra Olivier
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To date, 29 women have come out and accused Bill Cosby of varying levels of sexual assault. Woven throughout their stories are the same claims of drug use and an abuse of both Cosby’s power and celebrity status. The allegations date as far back as 1965 and as recent as 2008. And while there are no criminal investigations going on for any of these claims, a few of his accusers are launching civil lawsuits.

Despite the overwhelming uproar and the many allegations, the embattled comedian has kept very quiet. As his lawyer put it, “he will not justify these allegations with a response.” So instead, the few friends he does have left in the business have been stepping up to take the heat for him. Most of them are women.

Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen, Keshia Knight-Pulliam, Whoopi Goldberg, Jill Scott, Stacey Dash and Vivica Fox have all come to the defense of their friend, mentor and/or former co-star. Most of these women have dismissed or questioned the claims of these accusers, and a few have even called the allegations baseless, much like Cosby’s lawyer has every time a new accusation surfaces.

But while they feel that they’re speaking up for good reason, their dismissal of what these women have allegedly gone through is hurtful.

When the media swarm began and women from all walks of life started to come forward, I didn’t want to believe them either. This is someone I grew up watching faithfully. He was behind the strong on-screen African-American family I would hope to one day have when I reached adulthood. This is a man known for his many philanthropic efforts. This is also a man who motivated me during his commencement speech at my alma mater, Temple University.

But something is definitely going on that can’t be ignored.

Whoopi Goldberg’s open skepticism of Barbara Bowman’s accusations on “The View” came off as distasteful: “Don’t you do a kit when you say someone has raped you? Isn’t that the next step once you make an allegation? Don’t the cops take you into a hospital for a kit?” Her questions may seem appropriate, but her choice to pose them on her platform is what keeps other victims of sexual assault from coming forward.

Phylicia Rashad’s own controversial comments and choice to make this situation less about the women and more about a legacy being tarnished alludes to the idea that their hurt and shame isn’t worth listening to.

Like Goldberg and Rashad, I wanted to find “holes” in these stories. I questioned and asked, why now? But that is simply victim shaming, and finding an excuse for Cosby, who chooses to use this situation as material for his stand-up.

And while I look up to most of these women and can appreciate that they have positive relationships with Cosby, they were not there and certainly shouldn’t shut down these women and their stories. Without the facts, you can’t dismiss them or Cosby, so people should stop trying.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 68 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Discounting these women for when they decided to come forward sends a message to other victims that the road in seeking justice may be too hard and not worth the fight, especially if and when your attacker is rich and famous. Bowman claimed that she was laughed out of an attorney’s office once for coming up with such “stories” about what she had claimed to have been through.

Rape and sexual assault are very hard to talk about. Whether the alleged attacker is John Doe who bags groceries, or a powerful actor with a lengthy list of accomplishments, it is not the VICTIM who should be heavily scrutinized.

We don’t know what happened 20, 30 or 40 years ago in those dressing rooms or within the walls of the home he shares with his wife, Camille. But in such a high-profile case, we should not put these women on trial just because they have been unable to put Cosby on trial within the courts.

 

They Just Keep Coming: More Bill Cosby Secrets We Never Knew

January 12th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

As the number of rape allegations climb to 29, the Bill Cosby secrets just keep coming.

Phylicia Rashad And What It Means To Really Be Classy

January 9th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Phylicia Rashad And What It Means To Really Be Classy

Source: ABC

How does one define class?

I’ve been thinking about that a bunch as of late, considering how cavalierly the word is often thrown around. Folks, particularly womenfolk, are obsessed with it. What I mean is, I see folks use the word to signify a number of mostly aesthetically (and shallow) attributes like how poised one is in both posture and mannerism; the style and mostly conservative tone of dress; and how one articulates their words and punctuates with the finest of verb and noun agreements. Basically, being classy is about the image of refinement and civility we like to project out to the world.

And it sort of makes sense: women, who smile pleasantly, speak softly and remember to end their sentences with “please” and “thank you,” earn lots of people capital in a society, which still has a difficult time not referring to assertive women, who forgo social conventions, as “bitches.”

But for all of the “rewards,” which being a class act can afford us outwardly, what does class really say about character? You know, how poised and well-mannered someone is on the inside? More importantly, when faced with a situation that requires a bit of righteous indignation, what happens when one’s internal classiness conflicts with the appearance of dignity, respect and sophistication we like to project out to the world?

It’s a question that I wish Phylicia Rashad would have considered long and hard before even attempting to defend her former on-screen husband from allegations of sexual assault and doping women. If I had not made myself clear: I’m talking about Bill Cosby. Not that she didn’t have a right to offer a character witness and even her support to Cosby, who she regards as a long time friend. But it’s a whole ‘nother thing to rinse over the allegations against him – all 26 of them.

And yet that’s what Rashad did. First, during an interview with Showbiz 411 when she said, “Forget these women…What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated.”

And then again the following day, in another interview meant to clarify her previous thoughts about how we should feel about the women. With her head held high and while enunciating every syllable and affix, Rashad proudly tells the news program:

“That was a misquote. That is not what I said. What I said is this is not about the women. This about something else. This is about the obliteration of legacy….I am a woman. I would never say such a thing.”

In the interview, Rashad is both poised and dignified in her defense of not only Cosby, but now, of herself. Her pedigree, being the daughter of a Pulitzer Prize-nominated artist and an orthodontist, combined with all the years spent performing in the theater and her signature role as Clair Huxtable, shines through in a way that is almost enchanting. And for a split second, you can’t help but feel like you are getting the imaginary scolding we all secretly wanted from our favorite Black high achieving lawyer-wife and mother of five children and Olivia (Pam too if we want to get technical).

For the record, Showbiz 411 writer Roger Friedman, also clarified Rashad’s “real” intention, writing:

“There was NEVER the meaning in ‘Forget those women’ that she was saying to actually forget or dismiss then. [sic] She meant, ‘those women aside’– as in, she’s not talking about that, she’s talking about Cosby’s legacy being destroyed. It was conversational. Somehow this got twisted.”He also took out “forget those women” from his original article “because it was misunderstood and for no other reason.”

However, even with the clarification and adherence to grace, it is hard to see any real difference in either statement, particularly when during the original interview Friedman also writes: “Rashad dismisses claims from both Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson. ‘Oh, please,’ she said when their names came up.”

Rashad never offered an explanation for the “oh please” statement in her followup interview with ABC News. Perhaps her flippant dismissal of both Dickinson and Johnson’s alleged victimization was also a misquote too? Perhaps she meant, “Oh, please. I will have another scone and crumpet to go with my spot of tea. Pip pip and cheerio, old chap. And thank you…?”

In all seriousness, Rashad’s “oh please” mirrors what many sexual assault victims face at the hands of police, the justice system as well as the court of public opinion. The “oh please” tells us that just like so many sexual assault victims before them, Dickinson and Johnson are the wrong kind of victims. Why? Rashad never says.

As far as we know, neither has ever falsely accused any other man of allegedly doping and/or sexually assaulting them. We do know that Dickinson is a bit eccentric and Johnson admitted to using drugs in the past. Perhaps of sexual reputation or other less “dignified” personal behavior is enough to invalidate whatever act of violence might have happened to them? But if that is the case, what does make a victim worthy of belief, or the very least, having their allegations taken seriously enough to be investigated? Is it the actual crime itself or the person?

And more importantly, why isn’t their alleged victimization as important as Cosby’s legacy? Rashad insistence that we set the women aside and focus primarily on what these allegations are going to do when Cosby is long dead and gone (because that’s what we mean by legacy, right?) also highlights how we, as society, but more particularly a culture, have come to value appearance over the actuality of things. We do it with slave owning anti-Black presidents and other dignitaries. We do it with women-hating civil rights leaders and activists. And now we are doing it with comedians.

More specifically to the Black community, we often sacrifice our victimization and ignore the wrongs committed against us in favor of not looking angry. Or lazy. Or dishonest. Or worse, uncivilized and classless. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s consider the words of Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, who writes in Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920:

The role of black churches, their educational institutions, and missionaries in disseminating bourgeois values underscores the bicultural reality of black existence in America. Stating in the days of slavery, but particularly in the decades thereafter, black men and women lived within spatial and ideological communities whose collective behavior developed not in a cultural vacuum, but in contexts continuously though unevenly informed by the social, political, and economic values and behavior of the dominant American society. Home missions and other self-help activities of black women served to inculcate within the masses of poor and uneducated blacks psychological allegiance to certain mainstream values and behavior. Such values and behavior, especially as related to motherhood and domestic duties, were deemed proper and correct, even if difficult to sustain in practice.”

In my opinion, the adherence to certain values and behaviors, particularly the ones that place appearance over substance, should not be sustained. In particular, when social graces and “class” are used to mask lots of dysfunctional, regressive and even anti-Black people behavior. And while Mistress Emily Post might be happy with Rashad’s performance, I have to say I’ve seen classier…

Vivica Fox Takes A Stance On Bill Cosby Scandal: “I Stand By Him As Well”

January 9th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Vivica Fox

As the Bill Cosby scandal continues to make national headlines, more celebrities who know the comedian personally are being asked to take a stance.

During a recent appearance on “Meredith,” actress Vivica A. Fox offered her take on the controversy. She started by praising her “Celebrity Apprentice” co-star Keshia Knight Pulliam for the way that she handled being questioned about the controversy.

“[She handled it] like a class act,” said the 50-year-old reality star. “It’s part of it that they would attach her name to Mr. Cosby because they have history together.”

She went on to say that during her time spent with Cosby, he never behaved inappropriately.

“I’ve worked on ‘The Cosby Show’and was honored to do the show,” she added. “I have to agree with Keisha: The man I met was nothing like the man they are describing. He was nice, kind. There were no sexual overtones.”

Lastly, Vivica expressed her support Cosby.

“I defend him, and I stand by him as well, too.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the public and Cosby’s accusers respond to her comments.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

“You Have To Be Careful About Drinking Around Me.” Bill Cosby Makes Rape Joke At Recent Comedy Show

January 9th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Bill Cosby Makes Rape Joke At Recent Comedy Show

Source: Getty Images


Despite the isht that continues to hit the fan when it comes to Bill Cosby
and these rape allegations, the man is still making his coins traveling around the country–and Canada–doing his standup comedy routine.

Last night, Cosby performed in London, Ontario at the Budweiser Gardens.

Canada’s national press reporter Richard Warnica was live-tweeting the event when some pretty interesting developments occurred.

Before the show, the venue handed out slips of paper warning patrons that “disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated and will result in removal, possible legal action and/or banning from the venue.”

But the night took an interesting…and gravely disturbing turn when a woman in the front row got up to get a drink. Cosby, in the middle of his routine, stopped and asked her where she was going. She said to get a drink. And then she asked Cosby if he wanted one. He told her that he already had one, referring to his water bottle, before saying:

“You have to be careful about drinking around me.” 

The crowd gasped…and then applauded.

At that point a man in the audience jumped up and screamed, “You are a rapist!” and started walking out of the auditorium. Bill Cosby asked the man to stop and told the crowd to be patient.

Police officers surrounded the man and pulled him from the crowd, arresting him for failing to identify himself. They held him in handcuffs before releasing him a few minutes later.

Bill Cosby Makes Rape Joke At Recent Comedy Show

Source: Twitter

There are some who will argue that as a comedian Cosby expresses himself through jokes. And that is indeed true. But it’s not only odd, disgusting and inappropriate that he would joke about rape in this way; but also that he would chose a joke, a poor joke, as a way in which to address the very serious nature of these decades-long allegations.

At the very least it’s in poor taste; and at the absolute worst, it represents the attitude of a man who is so arrogant in his dysfunction and destruction that he figures he can get away with it.

“I Would Never Say Such A Thing” Phylicia Rashad Clarifies Her Bill Cosby Defense

January 8th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Phylicia Rashad Clarifies Her Bill Cosby Defense

Source: ABC

Yesterday, practically every major news outlet was reporting the first comments Phylicia Rashad made about Bill Cosby and the rape and sexual assault allegations that have been dominating the news cycle for the past few months.

“Forget these women” Rashad’s reported quote made a number of headlines and caused several women to give our beloved “Clair Huxtable” the side eye. I know I was genuinely shocked that she would seemingly dismiss these women, particularly about this subject matter of sexual assault, something with which women around the world are plagued.

Well today, in an interview with ABC, Rashad said that she was misquoted.

“That was a misquote. That is not what I said. What I said is this is not about the women. This about something else. This is about the obliteration of legacy.”

“I am a woman. I would never say such a thing.”

About the allegations she said:

“I can’t even speak to those things and don’t want to.”

When the interviewer asked her who would have a vested interest in destroying Cosby’s legacy she said.

“That’s my question too.”

Ultimately, Rashad say she wishes the women and Mr. Cosby well.

Yesterday, Roger Friedman, clarified that the phrase “forget those women” was not said in the way it was subsequently reported.

Folks, I have been out of pocket all day on a personal matter. Let me clear something. I did not misquote Phylicia Rashad. But she didn’t mean for it to be taken the way it was, and I should have punctuated. There was NEVER the meaning in ‘Forget those women’ that she was saying to actually forget or dismiss then. [sic] She meant, ‘those women aside’– as in, she’s not talking about that, she’s talking about Cosby’s legacy being destroyed. It was conversational. Somehow this got twisted. I am really sorry if the way I presented it made it seem like either one of us was forgetting anyone. I’ve been at a hospice on and off for 10 says [sic] with a family friend of 40 years. So really, let’s all calm down. What Phylicia was doing was defending her friend and his legacy. That’s what she said, that’s what I wrote, I’m sorry if it caused her grief. And no one asked me to write this. I’m just saying it because I like and respect her.

PS I am also taking out the “Forget those women” because it was misunderstood, and not for any other reason.

Friedman did Rashad and many others a disservice by pulling this quote, thereby implying that Rashad was dismissing these women. And although her comments to ABC were a bit softer, I think the message is generally the same. In her mind, the legacy of Bill Cosby–and the destruction of that legacy– takes precedent over these women coming forward with their stories. Unfortunately, it’s still very much side eye worthy.

You can watch Rashad’s full ABC interview in the video below.