The relationship between Eddie Murphy and Bill Cosby—the most influential Black performers of the 1980s and ’90s (and also, arguably, all time)—has always been a fraught one. Murphy has talked in the past about the unasked for advice the older, more “respectable” Cosby would send his way during their respective heydays about being the “right” kind of Black comedian in America—the irony of which the Coming To America star clearly seemed to relish during his monologue on Saturday Night Live this weekend, in which he pointed out how weird it is that he’s now a comfortable, respected, mostly-quiet stay-at-home father, and Cosby is a registered sex offender who’s currently serving time in jail.
But hey: You know who didn’t enjoy those jokes, in which Murphy busted out his Cosby impression (the one he declined to employ during the show’s big 40th anniversary special back in 2015, on the grounds of not kicking the guy while he was down) in order to ask “Who’s America’s Dad now?” Convicted sex offender Bill Cosby, whose representation issued a statement today condemning Murphy as, among other things, “a Hollywood Slave.”
In fact, the statement goes pretty heavy on the “Eddie Murphy is a bad Black person because he said something mildly mean about Bill Cosby on TV” stuff, invoking all sorts of gross imagery regarding the supposed meanings of Murphy’s decision to point out that Bill Cosby is, in fact, in jail. It even goes so far as to suggest that Murphy is bringing about “the destruction of Black men in Hollywood,” ignoring that even if that idea wasn’t ludicrously simplistic on the face of it—which, it is—we’re still pretty sure that nothing Murphy’s done has been anywhere near as harmful as Cosby’s own decision to consciously craft himself into some kind of cultural role model, while simultaneously spending years (allegedly) engineering situations in which he could sexually assault the women in his orbit.
Murphy has yet to respond to the Cosby camp’s comments; he’s presumably busy spending the holidays with his family, which he can, because he’s not in jail for committing sexual assault.