Although Malcom-Jamal Warner has gone on to a robust career in TV and film—he recently had a guest arc on the Closer spinoff Major Crimes, and will play OJ Simpson’s pal A.C .Cowlings in American Crime Story next year—there’s an entire generation to whom he’ll always be Theo Huxtable. That’s an accomplishment that must seem bittersweet in hindsight, given everything we’ve learned about Warner’s TV dad Bill Cosby over the past year or so.
Now, in an interview with The Associated Press, Warner has expressed his thoughts about Cosby’s fall from grace and the effect it has had on the show’s legacy. “The legacy can’t help but be tarnished,” he says, presumably referring to how differently the episode about Dr. Huxtable’s aphrodisiac BBQ sauce reads now that more than 40 women have accused Cosby of drugging and raping them. “My biggest concern is when it comes to images of people of color on television and film, no matter what … negative stereotypes of people of color, we’ve always had The Cosby Show to hold up against that,” Warner adds. “And the fact that we no longer have that, that’s the thing that saddens me the most because in a few generations the Huxtables will have been just a fairy tale.”
Warner also says in the interview that, unlike his TV sibling Keshia Knight Pulliam, he has been in touch with Cosby since all this horribleness went down, but wouldn’t comment on what they talked about. (Discussion of sweaters followed by awkward silence, maybe?) Warner is the third Cosby Show alum to talk about the allegations, although he is taking a dimmer view than Pulliam—who said “you can’t take back the impact” of the show in an interview earlier this week—and Phylicia Rashad, who said the accusations against Cosby were part of a conspiracy to keep him off TV back in January.