Who is Bill Cosby raping today? (UPDATE: NBC deal dead)
UPDATE: NBC says Cosby sitcom deal now dead.
“Say, I enjoy television and laughing at the shenanigans of those darned rightwingers,” you say to yourself. “I think I’ll peruse that delightful Happy Nice Time People website that’s so popular with the kids these days.”
(Admit it: that dialogue was so spot-on, you totally were reading it in your own voice in your head, weren’t you?)
But, alas! Unfunny rape stories keep forcing their way into the newsfeed like they’re Bill Cosby’s penis.
The latest: At least 10% of people both BELIEVE the accusations but have NOT LOWERED their opinion of the aging comedy icon/alleged rapist.
What the fuck, people?
According to a survey commissioned by Variety, 59% of respondents said they believe the women are telling the truth that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them. And yet, 51% said their opinion of him is unchanged.
Mathematically, the overlap between those groups is at least one in ten people.
In addition, 8% of respondents said they had a MORE POSITIVE opinion of Bill Cosby the Accused Rapist than they did when he was just Bill Cosby the Comedian. Presumably all of those people are in the “don’t believe” camp and are thus rallying behind someone they feel is being falsely accused, but given the above statistics, who knows?
Also, too, 72% of respondents said NBC should NOT go forward with a planned Cosby sitcom now in development. Netflix just indefinitely postponed a new Cosby standup comedy special that it planned to release later this month. There’s no indication that the Variety survey influenced the decision.
Note: this is a survey, not a poll, and there’s no indication of any respondents being unaware of the allegations against Cosby, so presumably those people were weeded out.
Since comedian Hannibal Buress made headlines by bringing up the decades-old but largely ignored allegations of sexual assault against Cosby, there have been three women who have come forward to publicly share their stories.
The most recent is supermodel and reality TV star Janice Dickinson, who tells a graphic story of being drugged and raped by Bill Cosby in 1982.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she recalls going to dinner with Cosby in Lake Tahoe. She says Cosby gave her a pill, then, “the last thing I remember was Bill Cosby in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me. And I remember a lot of pain. The next morning I remember waking up with my pajamas off and there was semen in between my legs.”
Dickinson also claims publisher HarperCollins caved to Cosby’s attorneys and removed the story of the attack from her autobiography before it was published in 2002.
“I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do, and it happened to me, and this is the true story. I believe all the other women,” said Dickinson.
Former actress Joan Tarshis told a similar story to Inside Edition and CNN about twice being raped in 1969, and then-aspiring actress Barbara Bowman told The Washington Post that Cosby had drugged and raped her in 1985.
What’s Cosby have to say? Only one interviewer has been able to put the question to him directly. NPR’s Scott Simon was discussing an exhibit of artwork owned by Cosby when he took the opportunity to veer dramatically off-topic:
SCOTT SIMON: This question gives me no pleasure, Mr. Cosby, but there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days.
BILL COSBY: [silence and shaking his head]
SCOTT: You’re shaking your head no. I’m in the news business. I have to ask the question. Do you have any response to those charges?
BILL: [silence and shaking his head]
SCOTT: Shaking your head no. There are people who love you who might like to hear from you about this. I want to give you the chance.
SCOTT: Alright. Camille and Bill Cosby. They have lent 62 pieces from their collection of African and African American art to create an exhibit called Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue. It’s now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art through early 2016. Thank you both.
Cosby’s lawyer had only slightly more to say, all of it amounting to bitches be lyin’:
“Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives.”
But wait, there’s more! Just now, while we loading the story onto the website but before we hit the “publish” button, one of Cosby’s lawyers broke his promise of silence and started mouthing off to the press about Janice Dickinson:
“Janice (Dickinson’s) story accusing Bill Cosby of rape is a complete lie,” Marty Singer, Cosby’s attorney, said in a statement, according to a report by NBC‘s Philadelphia affiliate station WCAU-TV. “There is documentary proof that Janice Dickinson is fabricating and lying about Bill Cosby.” […]
“The only story she gave 12 years ago in her autobiography as well as her interview with the media was that she refused to sleep with Mr. Cosby and he blew her off,” Singer said, according to WCAU-TV. “You can confirm with (publisher) Harper Collins that she never claimed Mr. Cosby raped her, that no attorney representing Bill Cosby tried to kill the story (since there was no such story) and no one tried to prevent anything she wanted to say about Bill Cosby in her book.”
UPDATE: Some anti-rape advice from CNN’s Don Lemon, via Wonkette: #JustBiteHisDick