Finally coming forward to correct what he sees as a grievous misunderstanding that could cast him in a negative light, Bill Cosby has issued a new statement through his lawyer, saying he was totally misconstrued when he suggested the “black media” should approach him with “a neutral mind.” Cosby made the comment earlier this week in an interview with the New York Post, where it was quickly met with scorn from critics—among them Bob Butler, President of the National Association of Black Journalists, and Georgetown sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson.
In particular, Dyson—who has spent years combating Cosby over his views on “black responsibility”—responded on MSNBC by calling Cosby a hypocrite for calling on the black community he’s chided to support him, saying, “The very kind of man who would rape women, allegedly, is the kind of man who will rape an entire black community, poor black people who are vulnerable before him, using his powerful foot to clump down their necks.” Still, at least he said “allegedly.”
Such niceties were lost on Cosby, however, whose statement said he wasn’t intentionally speaking to the black media when he said “black media.” He was just addressing the fact that the interviewer, Stacy Brown, “identified himself to Mr. Cosby as a freelance reporter for a number of African-American media.” Hs statement also singled out Dyson specifically, saying, “Mr. Cosby understands that Mr. Dyson does not agree with Mr. Cosby’s views, but such mean-spirited and reckless rhetoric cannot go unchallenged by responsible people and journalists.” Cosby further suggested that his comments in the Post interview “continue to be misconstrued in a way that can only call into question the fair-mindedness of certain commentators,” and reminded the press that it was the job of “all media” to “approach the story in a neutral manner—without a predisposition on either side of the story.”
With that in mind, the media has neutrally passed along the facts that yet more accusers have now joined the now more than 20 who say Cosby assaulted them, with seven of them appearing today on Dr. Phil. Among those was a woman who identified herself only as “Lisa,” who told yet another story of Cosby offering to help her with her acting career, inviting her to his hotel room to work on her “improv” skills, then giving her a laced cocktail before “petting” her. She claims she doesn’t remember anything after that, until she awoke two days later in her own bed.
Meanwhile, one of the few accusers to attempt to bring Cosby to court—Judy Huth, who says Cosby assaulted her when she was 15 years old—had her bid to have charges brought against him declined by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, which determined that the statute of limitations had passed on her claim. Gloria Allred issued a statement saying she’d expected that the statute would be an issue, but she encouraged others to file reports anyway, “because depending on the facts and the law it may be possible to prosecute other cases.”
Among those is the recent claims made by model Chloe Goins, who said that Cosby had also drugged and assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008—a charge that her lawyer, Spencer Kuvin, now says has sparked “a definitive open investigation” from the LAPD, into both Goins’ account as well as that of an undisclosed number of as-yet-unnamed victims. Kuvin suggests that the LAPD could soon issue search warrants as part of that investigation, with plans to talk to Goins sometime “early in the New Year.” So, we all have that to look forward to after the holidays.
In the meantime, for those already weary of the allegations regarding Cosby’s sexual assaults, this week provided a brief respite in the form of different allegations, these saying that Cosby also exploited his power to cheat academia—even going so far as to make people from his writing staff handle his Ph.D thesis for him. That accusation came from Sam Simon, co-developer of The Simpsons, who had one of his earliest jobs as a writer and storyboard artist on Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids.
Cosby’s doctoral thesis—titled “An Integration of the Visual Media Via Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids (1972) into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning”—is why Cosby is often referred to as “Dr. Cosby” (and in the credits of The Cosby Show, under the impressive moniker, “Dr. William H. Cosby, Jr. Ed.D.”) It’s also why some have denounced Cosby as a fraud for reasons beyond the rape allegations, with Dyson’s 2005 book, Is Bill Cosby Right?, mean-spiritedly pointing out the facts of his actual education. For example, that Cosby dropped out of high school after thrice flunking his sophomore year, got his GED in the Navy, enrolled in, but quickly dropped out of, Temple University, and only achieved his bachelor’s in physical education from there retroactively—well after becoming a successful actor and comedian—for “life experience.”
Meanwhile, Cosby’s masters and doctorate degrees were similarly granted thanks to a reportedly starstruck dean who lured him to UMass Amherst’s education program, where Cosby was allowed a very flexible attendance schedule—which, according to one member of his doctoral committee, Reginald Damerell, consisted of “at least one weekend seminar.” It also gave him course credit for appearing on TV shows like The Electric Company.
Ultimately, Damerell says Cosby’s doctorate was bestowed on him by a committee whose sole full-board “dissertation” meeting took place during a “sumptuous meal” for all the board members, hosted by Cosby at the sprawling, 16-room, restored farmhouse estate he’d purchased near campus. And of course, it was all based on a thesis that was, essentially, a report on how great Bill Cosby’s own television show was. And now, according to Simon, he didn’t even write that.
Still, as Deadspin recently pointed out, that certainly didn’t stop Cosby from bullying a Notre Dame football star at his 1989 graduation, telling him his 2.5 GPA would only be considered “okay if you have a mental disorder,” and bringing him to tears by saying he simply didn’t work hard enough—a lesson Cosby frequently imparts, be it to college students, African-Americans, or the media. Or, failing that, become famous enough to trade on your celebrity, hire other people to do the actual work, and generally live a life of self-indulgent denial while hypocritically asserting how others should live theirs, then respond to any criticism that bleeds through this protective shell of power you’ve created by demanding that you be treated fairly.