This Bill Cosby thing bothers me.
I’ll be honest, at first it bothered me because well, he’s Bill Cosby. He’s everyone’s Dad.
We grew up with Sondra, Denise, Vanessa, Theo and Rudy. I remember laughing at Cliff Huxtable as he tried to move his knee when Rudy’s friend Peter was sitting on it. I remember Picture Page and I coveted that pen. I loved A Different World. And I rather enjoyed pudding pops.
Then as I became older, I respected Bill Cosby even more. He wore the sweaters well. He spoke of higher empowerment, of elevation, of striving for more. His affiliations with institutions of higher education impressed me. And of course, the loss of his only son… well, it made him even more human.
And now this.
Pick your news source. This story is everywhere.
My natural inclination is to say, “Oh man, I hope that’s not true.”
Bill Cosby’s role within my generation has been that of a trusted, kind man. He’s kind of like the male version of Oprah.
And then you read of the lawsuit that was settled back in 2006 wherein the plaintiff had the support of 13 others who accused Cosby of ultimately the same thing: drugging them and then raping them.
And then you wrinkle your nose a bit and say, “Thirteen women? Um… something isn’t ok with this… And he ‘settled’? He didn’t just deny it becuase he was innocent? Do innocent people settle?”
At present I believe seven women have come forward telling frighteningly similar stories that are more or less the same: young girl looking for something (mentorship, attention, a break into acting, a job opportunity) meets distinguished, famous, loved-by-America actor who proceeds to give them pills which cause them to black out which diminishes their consciousness then results in them waking up to find their underpants off of their person, their bodies raped and a naked famous man nearby.
Did he do it?
Probably. I’d be surprised if he didn’t at this point. I hope he didn’t. But…
This is where I am with the whole thing right now:
1.) Seemingly nice people do really bad things. Why? Because they do. Seemingly nice people look for a particular personality who has a need and they exploit it. And seemingly nice people seem nice because they do lots of other things sometimes, just to cover up for the not-so-great stuff. Icky people don’t drive around in Molester Vans. They coach college football. They work with children. They write and produce hit 80’s sitcoms…
2.) Rules are usually pliable for those who are in power. Megachurch pastors, presidents of the United States, even lovable TV Dads can get away with heinous crimes. And, it appears to be easier to get away with something when the public isn’t willing to believe that someone would do that. “No, not him. He pedals pudding pops. He champions literacy and education for all! He’s a lovable TV Dad. He couldn’t have…”.
3.) It’s important to have a voice. I commend and applaud any woman, man or child who has the courage to stand up to a brick wall of skepticism and make such an intimate and scarring event public. Having to re-live and re-tell that story over and over again is beyond my comprehension.
4.) It’s important to tell the truth. Whack-jobs make.stuff.up. And it’s plausible that some of these women are lying. It’s also very possible that Cosby is lying. We’ll never know the truth. But the truth usually seems to find it’s way out. I hope this is the case with this mess.
This situation makes me want to scoop up my children and never.ever.let.them.out.of.my.sight.
I want to raise a child who is ridiculously unappealing to a predator.
We all do.
I hope this situation is appropriately resolved. I feel for Cosby’s wife of many, many years. Whether or not rape occurred, infidelity did… and that ain’t easy, either. That poor woman never asked to be part of the spotlight, but now… she is. 🙁
One could argue that none of this is my business, but I would respond with the lame, “But he’s a public figure” excuse. Because he is.
And you’re right, what he does in his personal time is his business…
…as long as date rape drugs aren’t involved.
AP’s interview taped Nov. 6 – link here