November 17, 2014

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Source: Shutterstock

Still, there are many blacks who don”€™t cotton to Cosby’s condescending “€œpull up your damn pants”€ hectoring. Last month during a standup routine, black comedian Hannibal Burress effectively told Cosby to pull up his own damn pants, citing multiple lingering rumors that Cosby is a serial sex offender. Citing Cosby’s boasts that “€œI don”€™t curse onstage,”€ Burress retorted with, “€œYeah, but you”€™re a rapist.”€

Burress was referring to the fact that since 2005, multiple women”€”by my reckoning, at least 15 of them at last count”€”have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them. The stories tend to converge along similar details: Cosby either offers them pills or a beverage, after which they become unconscious or at least incapacitated, whereupon he gropes or pokes or prods them sexually. Although Cosby has never been formally charged with a sex crime in relation to any of these allegations, he did settle a civil suit out of court in 2006 for an undisclosed amount with his initial public accuser, a female athlete named Andrea Constand. And though Cosby has continually dismissed all such accusations as extortion plots, it”€™d be a trifle easier to believe him if it”€™d had only been one…or two…or even three accusers rather than at least 15 of them.

Last Monday when Cosby posted a photo of himself on Twitter and encouraged fans to generate memes based on the photo, it blew up in his face catastrophically. Results included “JELLO PUDDING & RAPE,” “DRUGGED TEENS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS!,” and “LOOK AT THIS WACKY SHIRT I’M WEARING…ALSO I AM A SERIAL RAPIST.”

On Friday, Barbara Bowman”€”who was listed as one of thirteen “€œJane Does”€ in Andrea Constand’s civil suit against Cosby”€”wrote a piece for the Washington Post called “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?” She claims that Cosby drugged and diddled her in the mid-1980s when she was a teenager and he was the biggest star on TV. On Sunday, a woman named Joan Tarshis came forward alleging that Cosby had drugged and raped her way back in 1969″€”right around the time me and my family were enjoying his profanity-free jokes on the 200 M.P.H. album.

In 1985″€”the first year The Cosby Show reached #1 in the Nielsen ratings”€”I remember reading something in London’s Time Out magazine about some agonizing case of lost innocence”€”I forget the specifics. At the time, Bruce Springsteen was the world’s biggest rock star and was generally regarded as an inspirational and irreproachably decent human being. The Time Out writer said that hearing about this case of lost innocence was as depressing as, say, hearing that Bruce Springsteen had been diagnosed with AIDS. Writing for black website The Grio, someone who calls herself Luvvie Ajayi said last week that hearing Bill Cosby may be a rapist is “€œlike finding out that Santa Claus is a member of the KKK.”€

It wasn”€™t surprising, nor especially depressing, to hear that Mike Tyson was convicted of rape in 1992. After all, Tyson was known for little more than being a mentally challenged Brooklyn street thug who nearly murdered people with his fists in the ring. We expect these things from people such as Mike Tyson. But not of America’s Dad.


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