Should The Smithsonian Include Bill Cosby’s Sexual Assault Allegations In Its New Museum?

April 3, 2016  |  

Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

Bill Cosby’s controversial scandal of rape allegations that has been looming in the media continues, as earlier this week the new National Museum of African American History and Culture revealed that they would include Cosby. While the museum, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said that the comedian would be showcased in an exhibit on African-American entertainers in film, theater, and TV without mention of the allegations against him, things have changed, CNN reports.

On Thursday, founding director Lonnie Bunch said in a statement that the museum will include information about Cosby’s recent scandal in their “Taking the Stage” exhibit, in addition to highlighting his accomplishments in television and comedy:

“There have been many misconceptions and mistaken notions about the presence of Bill Cosby within the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s exhibition, ‘Taking the Stage,’ that explores the history of African American participation in film, theatre and television. This is not an exhibition that ‘honors or celebrates’ Bill Cosby but one that acknowledges his role, among many others, in American entertainment. Some people feel that the Smithsonian should eliminate all mention of Bill Cosby as a result of recent revelations. This museum seeks to tell, in the words of the eminent historian John Hope Franklin, ‘the unvarnished truth’ that will help our visitors to remember and better understand what has often been erased and forgotten. Like all of history, our interpretation of Bill Cosby is a work in progress, something that will continue to evolve as new evidence and insights come to the fore. Visitors will leave the exhibition knowing more about Mr. Cosby’s impact on American entertainment, while recognizing that his legacy has been severely damaged by the recent accusations.”

Interestingly, in January, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art withdrew an exhibit funded ($716,000) by Cosby and his wife, Camille, of which showcased works from the families private collection and received a fair share of backlash. This definitely may have swayed Bunch’s decision.

Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and longtime friend of the Cosby family, also shared her thoughts on Cosby’s exhibit, defending it. Cole said that the showcase is “not about the life and career of Bill Cosby” but rather “is about the interplay of artistic creativity in remarkable works of African and African-American art and what visitors can learn from the stories this art tells,” Think Progress reported.

As of now, the museum is continuing with Bunch’s decision of including the accusations of 50 women who accused Cosby of sexual misconduct and will open on September 24.

What are your thoughts?

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