Bill Cosby was a household name during the 1980s when “The Cosby Show” first took off and he is receiving national recognition once again, but for a different reason entirely. Over the last decade, Cosby has suffered several rape allegations and accusations dating back to January 2005 when Andrea Constand stepped up and claimed that a year before, Cosby, who happened to be a mentor for her at the time, had drugged and raped her in his house.
A month later, Tamara Green also accused the actor of drugging and taking advantage of her.
Both allegations were denied by Cosby and for the most part, the world moved on. Fast forward eight years to October of 2014 when, at Hannibal Buress’ stand-up routine, he called out Cosby as a rapist. From there, Cosby’s old allegations blew up into a frenzy of accusations from dozens of people over the next 10 or so months.
At this point, the news of him being an alleged rapist was viral, and Cosby cancelled appearances on various talk shows such as those hosted by David Letterman and Queen Latifah.
The wave of Cosby rape allegations continued in mass numbers until they mostly stopped on March 13 after the most recent allegation. However, it didn’t stop there. Since that day, different organizations of different sorts have boycotted Cosby in different ways. The Bounce television network stopped airing “The Cosby Show” reruns. Disney World in Florida removed a statue of Cosby. More recently, a group has petitioned President Barack Obama to revoke Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom.
On the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, Eddie Murphy refused to do a sketch where he would play the role of Cosby. Cosby responded to that by stating that he “applauded his actions” and that he was “very appreciative of Eddie.”
Before July 6 of this year, it would have been much easier to make my case as to how Cosby is innocent. However, on July 6, documents were obtained where Cosby admitted to obtaining Quaaludes with the goal of giving them to girls.
Quaaludes are sedatives used to reduce anxiety and as a side effect they make the user feel sleepy. This bit of information makes Cosby’s fight to retain his view as a role model for family life and my attempts to put him in a different light difficult. The documents in question did not specify a time frame and he never explicitly stated that he used these drugs on women, but that doesn’t mean things don’t look bad. On top of that, both Cosby and his wife have acknowledged affairs that Cosby has had and his wife, Camille, stated that she had come to peace with it.
Firstly, let’s take a quick look at the facts. When Hannibal Buress made the statement that Cosby was a rapist, there had been two accusations that had happened eight years earlier. The court statement regarding the Quaaludes and motive weren’t found until later and so there was a long time when people didn’t have much to work with except a viral video from a well-known comedian.
In the social media era, however, that’s plenty to run with, and some people seized the opportunity. This leaves the question of motive. In false rape scenarios it’s often a question of why someone would make the false accusations and that is why I believe so many people have been falsely accused of rape.
With Cosby, there is a very prominent financial incentive. As of 2015, Cosby had acquired a net worth of 400 million dollars. With two rape accusations already well-known by the world, it opened up lots of opportunity for people to try to get a piece of Cosby’s money, potentially more than enough to last them a lifetime.
Another piece of information regarding these accusations is that several of them were claimed to have happened more than 30 years ago. This might be a good time to point out that he had not yet acquired the fortune that came with “The Cosby Show,” a television show that had not yet premiered at the time of a large number of accusations.
In my opinion, this helps drive the motive, as a lawsuit 30 years ago would not have netted as much money as it would today. This also brings about a question as to how society would let this tarnish Cosby’s public image as they lacked physical evidence and the accounts sounded somewhat sketchy.
The only thing these women had going for them was their word, and that is being made more and more powerful through the efforts of third-wave feminism.
Feminism branches all over the world have been working to empower women to the point where rape allegations are almost always thrown in favor of the woman in question. A continuously growing portion of the population is taking a woman’s word more and more seriously to the point that anything they say could be taken as true, including false rape allegations.
In short, there is a lot of skepticism towards Cosby for the right reasons, but the problem is that the court system is so biased towards the female accusers that there really isn’t a solid defense that Cosby can put up against the allegations and that there wouldn’t be a fair trial where the lack of physical evidence meant more than it currently does.