Can We Talk About Cosby?

bill_cosby
photo via splitsider.com

I don’t know if I will be able to clearly articulate my thoughts about the Cosby situation. It’s all so complicated in my opinion. And I have so many thoughts on it. So I guess I’ll just start and hopefully this won’t be the worse post ever.

Today, Beverly Johnson revealed that she too was drugged by Cosby. It was kind of chilling to read. And I immediately felt disgusted by it. It’s amazing how after all of these alleged encounters, he’s remained widely regarded as one of our great American (and African-American) treasures? It’s really unbelievable. If you care, read the article Johnson wrote. It’s very well written and I think it will hit a lot of people in the way that it hit me.

I have to say, I haven’t been taking the side of anyone in all of these stories. I’m right in the middle. I know, how can I stay on the fence when there’s so many women coming forward with their stories? I don’t know…if I can explain it.

To start, I guess it’s just so unbelievable that BILL COSBY, of ALL people, would do something like this. We all know this man in a number of ways. I know him as Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable. I know him as the Jell-O Pudding man. I know him as the voice behind Fat Albert. These images evoke this person that everyone loves. So, to tell me that this lovable, wonderful, caring individual is being accused of drugging, assaulting and raping women, I’m just…lost. I’m not going to lie, I really cannot believe it. I really do not want to believe it. I can’t even wrap my mind around it. I don’t know if I’ll ever wrap my head around it, to be really honest. It seems so far-fetched to me given my current image of him.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I automatically do not believe the women who are coming forward. I’m not saying they’re lying or embellishing or anything of that nature. For me, I just need more information. I need another side of the story. I know, that sounds very much like I don’t believe the women, but there are two sides to every story and I need to hear what he has to say for himself. Seriously, where is Oprah with the exclusive interview!

At this point, nearly 20 women have come forward and he has yet to say anything. I’m guessing, he’s either trying to see if this blows over, or perhaps he’s trying to gather a strategy with his legal team? I don’t know. But I think at this point, he needs to speak up if he wants to save any sort of face. Because let’s face it, he’s built quite the career for himself. Does he really want to go out on this note? I really hope not.

billandcamillecosby
photo via freeyourmindandthink.com

I know some people don’t give a damn about what he has to say. Some people immediately believe these allegations, based on the “fact” that he’s been known in the industry to be a ladies’ man/womanizer. I’ve seen this written several places and all I have to say is, I had no idea. [Pause. I think Cosby is hilarious. But umm, is he really all that attractive? When I heard the womanizer thing, I was like, “really??”. Who knew.] But, given the amount of women coming forward, I think it’s safe to say the man definitely got around. And how he did this while married, is beyond me!

I really feel horrible for his wife, but we have to assume she knew what was going on, right? Perhaps she didn’t know the real situation that’s being revealed now, but she had to have known he was stepping out on her, right? Unbelievable. 

As I said, I don’t know how to feel about it all. I’ve read several stories from women and in some cases, I have to say, I can’t stand by them. There were a few women who relied on Cosby’s financial support. One woman stated he supported her through four years of college! What?! I cannot support her. If she willingly chose to endure his behavior in exchange for financial support, I can’t support that. I feel bad for women who don’t have the self-esteem to rise up from situations like this, but I just can’t bring myself to support her decision to stay and go through God knows what with him.

There were also women who continued to go back to Cosby after he drugged/assaulted them. And the reasons are varied. It seems like some of them were newbie actresses and felt like he could get them into doors with his connections/power. I cannot support them either. To be clear, I’m not saying that they deserved what he did to them, nor am I saying I think they’re lying. But once they willingly decided to return to him because of what they felt he could do for their careers, I can’t support them. And that’s because of how I was raised. No way in hell would I ever subject myself to abuse like that by anyone! And I completely understand that not everyone is raised to think of themselves highly and to stand up for themselves. I get it. I’m just saying, I can’t support someone returning to someone who will abuse them (in any kind of way) in exchange for money, connections, etc, etc. I just can’t.

On another note, I’m very…confused, as to why these women are all coming forward NOW. It’s been thirty years since this occurred for some of the women. I guess there’s no time like the present? Again, that doesn’t mean I think the stories are untrue because this happened so long ago. I’m just curious why bring it up now? In most of these stories, they all seem to state that they kept quiet because they felt no one would believe them. That bothers me to such a high degree. It bothers me that they felt he was SO “powerful”, no one would believe their stories. This is kind of off topic, but it’s why I feel we really need to stop obsessing over celebrities. They are regular people!! It’s that obsession that leads these celebs to think they can do whatever they want and get away with it. This story is a huge example of it. Putting celebs on pedestals never seems to end well.

To conclude, I really just don’t know where to stand on all of this. It’s all so horrific, sad, upsetting and a whole host of emotions. I feel bad for his family. Again, I wonder to what extent did Camille know about everything. Surely, she knew he was with other women, but who really knows. And I wonder if she will ever speak out about this? To think, she may know about the women, but the drugging and assault? I can’t even imagine her devastation.

What are your thoughts?

-t

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5 thoughts on “Can We Talk About Cosby?

  1. You know what it is? It’s not that these women aren’t believable, that this could not have happened… It’s that it taints our childhood. If it happened I hope the women get justice, but I’d rather not know about it, it’s a piece of my childhood I would like to keep happy. I don’t want to have to look at him and feel disgust. He played such a wholesome character, so even if it is true, I don’t want to believe it. That’s hard as a woman who wants to stand up for women. I don’t think there’s many celebrities I’d feel this way about, but it really makes you hope it’s not true.

    1. I feel that way as well, Tracy. It’s SO difficult to think this man could’ve done all of this, based on our image of him from our childhood. I hope to God that it’s not true, but if it is, these women should get justice. But at this point, I don’t know what sort of justice they could get.

  2. I think first we have to divorce persona from individuals in the entertainment industry. These people are average people with all of the hang-ups, addictions, and faults everyone else has. What we are shown on TV are entertainers doing masterful acting jobs. They are in character, fictional or non-fiction. And they are hardly acting as themselves. What we read in the news about their public life is mostly shaped by their publicist. I for one never fawn over or hold any person in high esteem because I know they put on their pants one leg at a time just like everyone else. If they don’t eat, they starve. If they get thirsty, they need water. In short, they are human beings, just in the public eye. Personally, I don’t get the whole Hollywood appeal. That’s just me. To me, it’s full of people who are paid way more than the work they put in to produce a product is worth. Yet, the person that stitches their designer clothes probably works longer hours and gets paid a fraction of the janitor’s salary that cleans up the studio every night. But I digress.  Put simply, Bill Cosby is a man with power, influence, and money. A deadly combination for someone who may have addictions they can’t control. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    Good luck with getting two sides of the story. Personally, I don’t think that’s necessary. If a person hits you over the head with a 2×4 and takes your wallet. You’re a firsthand witness to that event. You tell the police, but they can’t find person that hit you. The case goes cold. But then, 22 other individuals report that they’ve been hit over the head with a 2×4 by the same guy and their wallets have been stolen too. Do we need to hear the story of the guy hitting people over the head and stealing their wallets? Or can we draw a conclusion based on 23 eyewitness accounts of the same person doing the same thing to 23 different people? I wouldn’t expect a high profile individual like Bill Cosby to admit anything. With all of his influence based off of good will in communities, he will go broke before he admits that the man we thought he was, was a lie. You can’t reconcile being a pillar of a community while at the same time raping teenage girls and women.
    What’s more shameful is that he did all of this, even his usual Hollywood party hoping, while married. If anything, that should have given people pause. If Cosby could disrespect the sanctity of his marriage in the public eye, what more could he do behind closed doors? Honestly, I have pity on her. She’s been married to him for 50 years. No. I applaud her. For worse. Until death do you part. She’s catholic. She’s faithful. I get it. More power to her.
    You may not be able to support the women that stayed with him, but that doesn’t discount the fact that they’ve been raped. A lot of people blame women for making decisions that on their face, seem ill-conceived. But given their circumstances, their young age, and Cosby’s power and influence, we don’t really know what we would have done in the same situation. It’s like wondering why a battered wife stays in a marriage and refuses to press charges against her husband. Her lack of action doesn’t erase the fact that she’s married to a man who beats his wife. How about Camille? If she knows that he was a womanizer, why did she stay? Her action doesn’t erase the fact that her husband is a womanizer.

    A lot of people ask the question, “Why are these women bringing it up now? Yet, most brought it up a long time ago. Perhaps simply there was no vehicle to do so. Now we have You Tube where videos go viral. Some went to the talent agency that hired them. good luck there. Even talent agency won’t go up against one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. They would lose business. Sad, but money talks. Some actually went to the police and it went nowhere. One actually tried to file a case in Canada because the police didn’t do anything in the states. Others felt powerless because of Cosby’s influence and power. Imagine if someone in a position of power did something to you and they had high-paid lawyers in a case of your word against theirs. How far do you think your case would get before you ran out of money? Bill Cosby settled out of court one woman after she had 13 Jane Does ready to testify against him. I think the timing was right after the Catholic priests, Penn State, UVA, and the military stories came out about rape and molestation. And one comedian Hannibal Burress who brought up the fact that in Philly, Bill was accused of rape (the incident where the case went nowhere).
    I don’t feel bad about Bill Cosby or his family. They will be taken care of. Bill is set for life. I feel bad that 23 women, in this day and age, still aren’t treated with the same respect as men are. Why should there be skepticism when a woman accuses a man of rape? Even if that man is a celebrity? If anything, I would believe the woman given what we KNOW happens in Hollywood and has happened for a century. Watch the movie Girl 6. It talks about the abusive culture of Hollywood toward women. You really have to remove yourself from what is shown to you publicly and understand the real nature of human beings. I’m thoroughly convinced all of us have the capacity to do evil things when given power, money, and influence. Especially when it comes to grown men toward teenaged girls.
    Put simply, Bill is a sick man. He needs help just like any other actor with an addiction. We’ve seen stories about serial rapists and their methods. Bill liked to have sex with unconscious women. Sick as it sounds, he’s human and very capable of something like that.

    1. You bring up good points John. And clearly, you believe he did it and that’s completely fine. Lots of people believe he did it based on everything that’s been said about him from the past. Like I mentioned, I had no idea he was a womanizer. I literally learned that when all of these stories started coming out.

      I’m on the fence, and until more comes from him directly, I’ll stay on it. But sitting on the fence doesn’t mean I think he’s completely innocent. I’m SURE something occurred with all of those women. But what occurred, I don’t know. Were these women all raped? Or were they just touched? I’m going to be in the minority on this, but unless he actually had sex with them, I don’t classify other actions as rape. I’m sure 99% of women would say otherwise, but that’s not my definition of rape. To me, rape is sexual intercourse without consent. That’s what I define it as, so my questions remain…were all these women actually raped? I don’t think it’s right to claim rape if they weren’t raped. They were drugged and some, woke up with their clothes off. Does that equal rape? Maybe, maybe not. We don’t know.

      To be frank, (some) of these women don’t know what happened and I think they’re assuming they were raped. Rape is HUGE. It’s such a huge accusation to place on someone. And yes, even if he didn’t rape them, but did other things to them without consent, I definitely think it’s serious, but rape is an even bigger issue, IMO. Particularly according to the law. Rape is going to be a more serious charge than, say, him undressing them and jerking off while they’re nude/partially nude. It has to be clear and a lot of these stories fall into a gray area for me. But that’s just me. It doesn’t mean I think these women deserved what happened and it doesn’t mean he didn’t do anything. These stories are horrifying and I feel bad that this happened to all these women. And for the women that went back to him, I would understand if these women were married to him. In the analogy you mentioned with a battered wife, these stories are a little different, IMO. These women went back to Cosby because they stupidly believed he could help their careers (in some instances). That’s just dumb. That’s just desperate. Sorry, I personally would not go back to abuse. I can’t support someone who knew it was wrong and felt so terrible/broken/ashamed by being attacked in this way and then decided to go back! No sir. Not cool. Because in my mind, that makes NO sense. It makes no sense to return to someone who isn’t your husband. I could see if they were married, like in your analogy of a battered wife. I can see why those women didn’t leave. Many battered women will claim that, even through all the abuse, they still loved/were in love with their husband. And I can see that. I don’t agree with them staying, but I can see their side. Most of these Cosby women had no connection to him in that way. Most met him somewhere (at an audition or an event) and it went from there. I know there was one account I read where the women stated she was in a relationship with him, but for others, they didn’t have that sort of connection/relationship to continue going back. (I’ve read lots of accounts now, but can’t remember them all, so forgive me).

      As far as his family goes, I do feel bad for them because I’m sure they didn’t know the extent to what was going on. Sure, I think Camille knew he was stepping out on her, but she decided to stay. Unlike you, I wouldn’t say “good for her”. I don’t care if she’s Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, JW… that’s terrible and she should have left. But that’s how I feel…I would have left a LONG time ago. But I feel bad for her because I doubt she knew the details of what he was doing. I doubt she knew he was drugging women. I doubt she knew he was assaulting/raping women. No way she knew that. And no way his children knew these things, so yes, I feel bad that their beloved father is now seen as this monster. I’m sure they’re devastated! I’m devastated for them. Overall, I’m not saying he isn’t capable of doing this based on his TV persona, but it’s hard to wrap my head around it all. I think I’m also just the type of person that believes in complete fairness. Some people don’t need to hear the other side of this story, but I do. I need to hear what he has to say, but he probably won’t speak out. And in that case, I will probably just stay on the fence.

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