Friday, December 12, 2014
Bill Cosby: We Hardly Knew Thee - Why Bill Cosby Doesn't Get the Presumption of Innocence
Why Bill Cosby Doesn’t get the Presumption of Innocence The simple answer is that this presumption may exist in a court of law, but not in the court of public opinion. A Los Angeles jury may have acquitted O.J. of the double murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, but the American people convicted him. We knew he did it, as did a Santa Monica civil jury, which subsequently held him liable for the wrongful death of the two. I liked the public persona of Bill Cosby: the comedy albums out of the late 1960’s, I SPY which pioneered a lead African America in a TV show, and the Cosby Show, featuring an African American cast. America loved Bill Cosby the comedian; we loved Fat Albert and the Jello commercials. He was a benefactor of Black colleges. Bill Cosby was a pioneer. He paved the way for the African Americans comedians and actors today. We liked Bill Cosby at one of his concerts at the Orange County Fair two summers ago. We now know that Bill Cosby was a façade, hiding the dark side of the private Cosby. The public persona was but a mask for the private persona. I like Bill Cosby when he advocated a frequently unpopular position in the African American community advising them to start at home in improving themselves and advancing in America. I will not be able to quote that Bill Cosby in the future. Many a star, many a celebrity, many an athlete, many a politician is a lothario. They may be single or married, but America will generally not care as long as it’s consensual and they don’t do something stupid in public. Big Cosby is different, partially because our image of him has been shattered, but mostly because his acts involved drugging and forcing himself on women. The sex was not consensual. Woman after woman has emerged out of the Hollywood shadows to expose a pig and serial rapist, going back to the 1960’s. That should not have occurred. Rumors repeatedly flew through the Hollywood community. His peccadillos were well known. However, the producers, directors, networks, and media did not want to “out” him. He was too popular and financially remunerative. Skilled lawyers would always represent him as long as he could pay them. O.J. was essentially broke after his L.A. criminal trial. Hollywood believes in redemption for the legally and morally charged as long as the public does not turn on them. The Cos was emboldened because he got away with it. No one wanted to listen to the victims. Even a prosecutor, who believed Cosby was guilty, did not feel he had enough evidence to go to trial. You don’t attack an icon unless you think you can win. The NFL and college football also looked the other way at players involved with sexual and domestic abuse until this past year. The fans want wins, not jail time. Bill Cosby is like a Greek Tragedy. First the Gods built him up, literally from his bootstraps in the Projects, and now in his twilight years throwing him back down. The American people have spoken. Even his concerts are being cancelled now. The lesson is that it was the new social media, which brought him down. Social media is not bound by the traditional constrains.