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QOTW: Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Allegations

77 year old legendary comedian Bill Cosby, infamous for his lead role as father figure Cliff Huxtable in the hit sitcom “The Cosby Show,” is facing sexual assault charges that are leaving him with an anything-but fatherly reputation. With the number quickly climbing, 22 women so far have publicly accused Cosby of sexual abuse, with reported incidents dating back as far as the 1960’s. Many of these women claim to have been drugged by Cosby, saying that he used this tactic as a method for their compliance.

Photo: The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, CC

Photo: The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, CC

Cosby has fought off sexual assault allegations for years, which included a lawsuit in 2005 filed against him by Andrea Constand, the former director of operations for the Temple University women’s basketball team. Constand claimed that Cosby had allegedly drugged and molested her, and for an undisclosed amount the case was settled out of court in 2006.

However, a recent stand-up act by comedian Hannibal Buress, in which he mocked Cosby in his act by saying, “Well, yeah, you’re a rapist,” brought these allegations back to the surface. This comedic bit went viral as the media brought the attention back on Cosby and the allegations against him. As a result of the current public attention to the matter, more and more women have come forward with accusations against the legendary comedian.

One of his alleged victims, Barbara Bowman, has been especially vocal about her experience. Recently, Bowman published an op-ed, “Bill Cosby Raped Me. Why Did It Take 30 Years for People to Believe My Story?” for the Washington Post. Within the piece, Bowman wrote: “Only after a man, Hannibal Buress, called Bill Cosby a rapist in a comedy act last month did the public outcry begin in earnest. While I am grateful for the new attention to Cosby’s crimes, I must ask my own questions: Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade. Why didn’t our stories go viral?”

In response to this recent outbreak of allegations, Cosby’s lawyer Martin Singer has made the following statement: “The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity. These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.”

In addition, Cosby himself has refused to discuss the charges, claiming that a “guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos.”

In New York, there is no statute of limitations in regards to first-degree rape charges. With sufficient evidence to build a case, Cosby could face these allegations legally. In light of the recent scandal, The Cosby Show has been pulled from TV Land and Cosby has resigned from his position on Temple University’s board of trustees. Also, the multiplying allegations against Cosby have cost him his honorary title of chief petty officer. The navy revoked the title because such allegations against Cosby went against their core values.

Emmanuel students and faculty were asked what they thought about the Bill Cosby allegations for this installment of the Question of the Week.


 

20141203_144720Sister Susan Thornell
Academic Advising
“I very much enjoyed the show. I think we do this a lot, we get the public persona mixed up with the person. Its really sad, I know a lot of people are angry and surprised. I think the other thing that is hard to understand is, well, why didn’t they come forward when it happened? It was a different world then and that was something you didn’t talk about, even with authorities. I unfortunately think it’s true. It’s sad that they’ve lived with this while today it is more open.”

 

John Clay
Class of ’16
“Why now? Why are they just coming forward with it, after all this time? I think if anyone did these things I’d be surprised, Cosby included. If you aren’t surprised, then you would have suspected that he did it in the first place, and people probably wouldn’t have associated with him if they knew.”

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Risa Miller
Professor of English
“It’s just always surprising when someone you admire from afar seems to get dethroned. It’s hard not to start to judge when there’s such a proliferation of accusations. I don’t know the reality of what happened but people are being specific about their accusations. It’s just weird and really sad because who doesn’t, or didn’t, love Bill Cosby? He was an iconic performer who came across as very wise.”20141204_150253

 

 

Kelsey Joyce
Class of ’16
“I don’t like the man but I liked him as a comedian. He’s good at making people laugh, but that doesn’t mean I like him anymore.”

 

Dr. Brenda Hawks
Director of the Counseling Center
“When I was in graduate school, there was no word for sexual harassment. There was no understanding that it was wrong or that it was actually sexual harassment. These women were young when it happened, they looked to him as a role model and someone who could help their career. Their stories are remarkably similar, my sense is that they probably would have never reported had the first one or two not spoken up. I love Bill Cosby, it’s been sort of horrifying. I’m surprised that it’s him, but I’m not surprised that seemingly nice people in powerful positions abuse that power.”

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Shannon Brady
Class of ’17
“Since I was a big fan of the Bill Cosby Show growing up, I was a little surprised to hear that he was being charged with sexual assault. But, I think the women most likely didn’t come out back then because he was a household name and was so famous. They were probably afraid back then but now that its been many years they were more willing to come forward and tell their stories.

 

 

Allison Lucy ’17 is a staff writer for The Hub. E-mail her at lucya@emmanuel.edu.

Posted by on December 5, 2014. Filed under Around Campus,Opinions & Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.