Bill Cosby/Hannibal Buress
October 21, 2014 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Hannibal Buress called out Bill Cosby for the sexual abuse charges against him onstage in Philly recently: "Thirteen? And it’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the fucking smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom. Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. Well, yeah, you’re a rapist, so, I’ll take you sayin’ lots of motherfuckers on Bill Cosby: Himself if you weren’t a rapist. …I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. …I’ve done this bit on stage, and people don’t believe. People think I’m making it up. …That shit is upsetting. If you didn’t know about it, trust me. You leave here and Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny. That shit has more results than Hannibal Buress." Timeline of Abuse Charges. (TW: Sexual Abuse)
posted by josher71 (393 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 
I began loving Hannibal Buress after seeing this bit. Cosby is such a self-righteous prick (and alleged monster).
posted by lattiboy at 9:34 AM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


Man he's funny on Broad City.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:35 AM on October 21, 2014 [21 favorites]


I prefer to believe that The Cosby Show and everything subsequent, including the 'pull your pants up' crap, is the handiwork of some other Bill Cosby than the guy who did those sublime stand-up bits in the 60's. That other guy was one of the funniest people who ever lived.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:37 AM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


I only heard the stories about Bill Cosby for the first time maybe 6 months ago, but they are appalling. I've seen Bill appear on a few talk shows and I've been waiting for someone to ask him about it. It makes watching him joke on shows really awkward. Kudos to Hannibal for finally calling Cosby out.
posted by mathowie at 9:41 AM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


People not asking is how Jimmy Saville happened.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on October 21, 2014 [83 favorites]


I'm impressed Hannibal feels confident enough in his career to call out someone of Cosby's stature.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:50 AM on October 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


Why are the only substantial links here from a site called "Vulture"?
posted by Nevin at 9:50 AM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm impressed Hannibal feels confident enough in his career to call out someone of Cosby's stature.

The golden rule in self-promotional PR: punch up. Oscar Wilde understood this.
posted by Nevin at 9:52 AM on October 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


Hannibal is easily a top 5 best comic of this decade. But I love the Cosby show and wish these facts didn't ruin it. But that's my problem, not a problem with the facts.

That shit is upsetting.

This is my opinion too.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:52 AM on October 21, 2014 [15 favorites]


The golden rule in self-promotional PR: punch up. Oscar Wilde understood this.

Sure, but Hannibal Burress is pretty well-established. It's not like he's trying to make a name for himself by picking fights.

And the other thing that's apparently well-established is Bill Cosby's history of sexual assault.
posted by entropone at 9:53 AM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


a site called "Vulture"?

Its a 5 year old subsection of NY mag.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:55 AM on October 21, 2014 [27 favorites]


(Because Vulture is a reasonably well respected culture and entertainment website portal of New Yorker magazine.)
posted by maryr at 9:56 AM on October 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


In fact, New York Magazine has a history of very fine journalism (with a long lapse beginning some time in the early 2000s when it became basically a jumped-up Neiman Marcus catalog).
posted by holborne at 9:57 AM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


But I love the Cosby show and wish these facts didn't ruin it.

Are they known to be facts?

I'd never want to be famous. A huge percentage of people are ready and eager to "find out" terrible things about you.
posted by the jam at 9:57 AM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Somehow I had never heard of the allegations of abuse against him until this morning. It's truly upsetting, because I used to have so much respect and admiration for him.
posted by jbickers at 9:57 AM on October 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Why are the only substantial links here from a site called "Vulture"?

Given everything we've seen about rape culture, I'm not remotely surprised that larger media outlets have been reluctant to pick up on this story and even investigate it. People lose their minds when their high school football players are accused of rape (with substantial evidence to back it). There's plenty of damning evidence against R Kelly, but hardly anyone knows about anything more than him "peeing on that one girl that one time, haha." I'm quite sure a lot of law enforcement types and journalists would blink more than twice before going after someone of Cosby's stature, or believing the allegations enough to investigate in the first place. And how much money does he have to throw at this problem?

Hell, I'm just impressed that Buress could get this trending on Facebook.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:01 AM on October 21, 2014 [47 favorites]


I don't get much out of elder Cosby, but seriously kids...pull your fucking pants up. Don't walk down the street with one hand keeping your damn pants on. That's no way to live.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 10:02 AM on October 21, 2014 [14 favorites]


Are they known to be facts?

It seems pretty clear there's a 'there', there, at the very least. The last time I looked into it, some of the facts were obscured by legal agreements, but there was enough in the open to make it look really bad for Cosby.

I'm sad to say it doesn't surprise me. I've been getting a vibe for some years that Cosby wasn't such a nice guy. He was after all Melvin van Peebles' last stop when looking for funding, and if Melvin van Peebles (who could definitely look out for himself) was concerned about taking money from him....
posted by lodurr at 10:03 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


A huge percentage of people are ready and eager to "find out" terrible things about you.

THIRTEEN PEOPLE. Not one person making up a story. 13 People telling similar stories.
posted by DGStieber at 10:03 AM on October 21, 2014 [108 favorites]


larger media outlets have been reluctant to pick up on this story

There was a major New Yorker profile of Cosby recently that outlined these accusations (they weren't the central theme of the profile, but they weren't swept under the rug, either).
posted by yoink at 10:04 AM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


i'm glad more people are finding out about this - i was late to finding out too (probably around the dylan farrow article) but it has been something talked about for a very long time. as hannibal burress points out, it makes his respectability politics and new black nonsense even that much harder to take.
posted by nadawi at 10:04 AM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Why are the only substantial links here from a site called "Vulture"?

Not sure why it would matter, but if you want to read about it from a different site, here's a story from eight years ago in a December 2006 edition of People magazine: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20059561,00.html
posted by 23skidoo at 10:04 AM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


and lest we make too light of buress's "punching up": that has risks, too. Wilde also understood that -- very, very intimately.
posted by lodurr at 10:06 AM on October 21, 2014 [14 favorites]


New Yorker article, I think.
posted by josher71 at 10:06 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


A dozen accusations of this is really, really horrible. What a disgusting person.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:06 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


wow, the pushback in this thread is weird, yet not totally unexpected I guess. A lot of male comedians gleefully contribute to rape culture - good for Burress to call someone out instead.
posted by sweetkid at 10:07 AM on October 21, 2014 [51 favorites]


Cosby's interview last month on The Colbert Report was....really strange.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 10:11 AM on October 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


I think much of the pushback comes from that people who are well respected and 'normal' can also be rapists.

It is frightening and unsettling and removes blame from the victim(s) for much of society.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:12 AM on October 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


the pushback in this thread is weird

I count two commenters from this thread who've expressed some skepticism. Not exactly what I would call "pushback". Overwhelmingly, I think you're seeing a lot of people coming to a sad, begrudging realization about a horrible, ugly side of a comedy hero.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:13 AM on October 21, 2014 [37 favorites]


sweetkid:
wow, the pushback in this thread is weird
With one exception I don't know if I'd describe it as pushback. Mostly shock from people who only know Cosby for some of his works and don't really follow anything else about him.
posted by charred husk at 10:14 AM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


I like Burress quite a bit. I have seen him perform and found him very funny. I find it interesting to see this topic in his comedy. When I have seen him, he isn't political at all. And he always seems to be talking about obscure issues, not serious or big issues of the day. This is the guy who does bits about pickle juice, scatting (scatting singing, not scatting shitting on people, as he clarifies), why he likes to wear a hoodie when he masturbates, jaywalking, and whether guys who do jingles have a crew in the studio pumping them up like rappers do. It's all kind of off-beat light-hearted stuff. So it is interesting to me to hear him bring up a serious allegation and topic like this.
posted by dios at 10:16 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Are they known to be facts?

Here is the court document that lists 12 women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.
posted by gwint at 10:16 AM on October 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


what is the evidence that bill cosby is a rapist? have over a dozen named women really charged him, or are these just anonymous allegations? this is something that should be pressed in court toward a formal adjudication.
posted by bruce at 10:18 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wow, I just read some of the reports from those women. They describe a man who uses his kindly reputation for awful ends, offering medicine and comfort but delivering drugs and rape. It's not great.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 10:18 AM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't think it's worthwhile to count up how many mentions are on the "pushback" side but given the very straightforward things Burress is saying, comments like this:

I'm impressed Hannibal feels confident enough in his career to call out someone of Cosby's stature.

basically calling Burress a craven opportunist trying to get his name in by calling out Cosby - it's pretty gross. Plenty of comedians have made a name for themselves with rape jokes. A guy does something markedly different, and he's just white knighting or trying to get attention.
posted by sweetkid at 10:19 AM on October 21, 2014 [30 favorites]


I was SO SO SAD to hear about this. Both for the women involved and for all ofus who really treasured Bill Cosby's sense of humor. I think though, this is one of those great opportunities for people to see how confusing it is to face that someone who you may have treasured or valued or thought had a good heart can do such horrible things- a reality that many survivors and their loved one can not walk away from. People often say that survivors have "black and white thinking" but the reality is this is not really their problem so much as societies problem, of seeing abusers as all bad when that is not true. People away from the issues can think "abusers, gross, they are bad" but people up close have to grapple with a complex situation where monstrous behavior is coming from someone who also did warm, kind, funny things. When we ask survivors to either a: treat the abuser as a monster who can never be loved or part of their life or heart again, we are asking people to disregard the humanity of a real person and real love they have shared with that person. Or b: to forgive everything and heal together with the abuser, they may walk through life believing they can never judge anyone or call anyone out and let themselves be treated badly and keep forgiving until suddenly it becomes too much to bare and they lash out the truth of the mistreatment "seeing the person as all bad".

One of the horrors (among the many) of abuse like this is that I honestly don't think there is any earthly remedy for it that can simply make everything right. It shatters so many and then there is just... all these broken aching pieces left of what was once beautiful. All we can do is support all affected and that in ourselves that may continue to ache, and simply let that be as it needs to while developing support structures around survivors, and within our hearts, that will carry and honor the wounded in what they may grapple with in an ongoing way.
posted by xarnop at 10:19 AM on October 21, 2014 [58 favorites]


(Because Vulture is a reasonably well respected culture and entertainment website portal of New Yorker magazine.)

Not New Yorker (maybe New York Magazine)?

The New Yorker itself did profile Cosby last month. The profile did talk about Cosby's public-facing persona versus his darker private life. The profile also mentioned that while Cosby often makes light of his lower-class upbringing, his father was basically an unreliable, abusive, violent drunken deadbeat.

Anyway, sorry for the "pushback" but I don't live in New York and had never heard of Vulture, and I always have considered New York Magazine to be the New Yorker's slightly stupid, vengeful cousin.
posted by Nevin at 10:20 AM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


the fact is that most rape cases will never be presented in court, especially if the accused holds societal power and chooses victims who lack that power. people who think justice can reliably be found through the law are generally people who have not been raped and sought that justice.
posted by nadawi at 10:21 AM on October 21, 2014 [101 favorites]


Yeah, this is a bummer. I grew up in a family that sort of idolizes Cosby, I grew up being in love with the Huxtable family... and yet, when there are 12 or 13 or 14 women all saying the same thing, it's hard to ignore. When the man chose to pay out a multimillion dollar settlement to one accuser to hush her up, that said a lot to me.

I'm pretty grossed out by the comments I've seen elsewhere (and at least one here) demanding rock-solid "proof". As if they've never lived a day on this planet, as if they don't know exactly what goes down in every rape case ever. Don't be obtuse, gents (it's almost always men, isn't it).
posted by palomar at 10:22 AM on October 21, 2014 [56 favorites]


Also, I guess somewhat topically, Burress does have a bit about meeting a girl in a club at 4am in Scotland and being weirded out by the fact she quoted rape statistics. In that bit, he jokes that he doesn't hang out with anyone who quotes rape statistics.
posted by dios at 10:22 AM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


basically calling Burress a craven opportunist trying to get his name in by calling out Cosby - it's pretty gross. Plenty of comedians have made a name for themselves with rape jokes. A guy does something markedly different, and he's just white knighting or trying to get attention.

I feel you are projecting a lot of stuff onto the original comment that doesn't actual exist in that comment. At very least, I think you may have misread it.
posted by echocollate at 10:23 AM on October 21, 2014 [53 favorites]


It now seems to be a bit of a norm for celebrities to sexually abuse people whatever sex and age in the past and probably still doing it. The persona 'Celebrity' seems to indicate that anything goes and nobody is going to believe the victim when revealed.
posted by colinjrook at 10:23 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's worthwhile to count up how many mentions are on the "pushback" side but given the very straightforward things Burress is saying, comments like this:

I'm impressed Hannibal feels confident enough in his career to call out someone of Cosby's stature.

basically calling Burress a craven opportunist trying to get his name in by calling out Cosby - it's pretty gross.


It seems like you're reading that comment as sarcastic? Me, I took it as sincere. The perils of plaintext.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:23 AM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


basically calling Burress a craven opportunist trying to get his name in by calling out Cosby - it's pretty gross

I read that comment as acknowledging the respect and power that Cosby still yields, even after a dozen rape allegations. A lesser-known comedian could easily ruin his career telling a joke like that. It's only because Burress has already made a name for himself that he can tell that joke without fearing for his career.
posted by gladly at 10:25 AM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


yea it's possible I misread the comment, but another one mentions it and goes on to talk about "good PR." In any case, I'm not pursuing it further.
posted by sweetkid at 10:26 AM on October 21, 2014


calling Burress a craven opportunist

That's a pretty bad faith reading of that comment.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 10:27 AM on October 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


I don't think it's worthwhile to count up how many mentions are on the "pushback" side but given the very straightforward things Burress is saying, comments like this:

I'm impressed Hannibal feels confident enough in his career to call out someone of Cosby's stature.

basically calling Burress a craven opportunist trying to get his name in by calling out Cosby - it's pretty gross


I read this way differently. I just recently became aware of Burress, and my first thought was that I was genuinely impressed that he would be secure enough to do the right thing and take on someone of Cosby's stature because it can potentially be career wrecking stuff if you tick off the wrong people. I could be wrong, but I don't think 2bucksplus was calling Burress an opportunist. I think he was calling him brave.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:28 AM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


I'd never want to be famous. A huge percentage of people are ready and eager to "find out" terrible things about you.

Um. If one has a habit of drugging and raping women I'd hope that a huge percentage of people would want to "find out" about it, regardless of their fame. This isn't paparazzi hounding the famous - it's the opposite. All evidence points to the Cos being a monster, but because "we" love his public persona it slides by.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:28 AM on October 21, 2014 [33 favorites]


even after reading all the documents and accounts and articles i could find about the allegations, i was still surprised by this lipstick alley thread about cosby in 2010 (warning for the hard proof wanting type, lipstick alley will not provide that) - just the scope of the rumors and how they fit in with other things about his life and character...it's amazing the lengths society goes to in order to protect what it values.
posted by nadawi at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


THIRTEEN PEOPLE. Not one person making up a story. 13 People telling similar stories.

I have no idea whether the allegations are true or not. However keep in mind that the fact that there has been 13 allegations would mean something more if they were against William Cosby the real estate agent. Mr Cosby's fame and wealth makes him a target for accusations.

It is interesting how such allegations are treated by the public. Clinton has had numerous accuations of rape, Michael Jackson is infamous for the allegations about his raping children, and the list goes on. Some are automatically believed and others are disbelieved no matter what.

The belief or non-belief doesn't seem to be effected by any sort of evidence.
posted by 2manyusernames at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


sweetkid: "basically calling Burress a craven opportunist trying to get his name in by calling out Cosby - it's pretty gross."

Hey, to me, that comment doesn't read that same way. Cosby is basically a pillar of a golden age of comedy. And he's one of the last remaing black comedians from that era: Fox and Pryor are gone, and Murphy seems to avoid the spotlight these days. People will be vicious in defending Cosby against any charges to protect his reputation. It's not that Burress is craven, it's that he's calling Cosby out to people who have no reason to believe what he says and are likely to be set against him, truth or not.
posted by boo_radley at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


what is the evidence that bill cosby is a rapist? have over a dozen named women really charged him, or are these just anonymous allegations?

Same shit, different thread. "Who are all of these liar women? Do they even exist?" I live for the day (not in a pleasant way) that we have a thread about multiple accusations of sexual assault without the "where's the proof?" comment EVER showing up. The proof is that WHEN MULTIPLE PEOPLE CLAIM THEY WERE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED, YOU FUCKING BELIEVE THEM.

Goddamn.
posted by tzikeh at 10:30 AM on October 21, 2014 [119 favorites]


sure - a dozen or more allegations on a famous man wouldn't be necessarily noteworthy, especially with as promiscuous as cosby has apparently always been, but the allegations are stunningly similar and exact, describing a specific fetish. that's a lot harder to pull out of thin air.
posted by nadawi at 10:33 AM on October 21, 2014 [14 favorites]


2manyusernames: "I have no idea whether the allegations are true or not. However keep in mind that the fact that there has been 13 allegations would mean something more if they were against William Cosby the real estate agent. Mr Cosby's fame and wealth makes him a target for accusations.
"

For those of you playing at home, please check off the Rape Accusation Collusion square on your boards now.
posted by boo_radley at 10:34 AM on October 21, 2014 [78 favorites]


I'm all for people calling Bill Cosby a rapist, so long as they generally acknowledge that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a pedophile and sexual molester.

But they generally don't... and besides, charges were never filed.
posted by markkraft at 10:35 AM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think the resistance to the evidence that Cosby is a rapist comes from more than his celebrity. It comes from his status as an icon to Americans in terms of parenting, morality, and values. There's some head exploding cognitive dissonance in finding out that the kindly dad from tv who taught you about hard work, respect, and honesty also likes to drug women unconscious and rape them.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:35 AM on October 21, 2014 [18 favorites]


Hannibal Buress was on Howard Stern's show this morning, I guess, and he said he's been talking about this in his standup routine for SIX MONTHS. And it's just now getting traction.
posted by palomar at 10:36 AM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Mr Cosby's fame and wealth makes him a target for accusations.

From the People magazine article I linked to above: "As in so many cases alleging sexual assault, these women make imperfect witnesses... But none of them stand to profit from suing Cosby for monetary damages; the statute of limitations on all their charges has expired."

If Cosby's wealth made him a target for sexual abuse accusations, then the accusers were doing it wrong, as the statute of limitations on all their charges had expired.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:36 AM on October 21, 2014 [49 favorites]


I'm all for people calling Bill Cosby a rapist, so long as they generally acknowledge that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a pedophile and sexual molester.

What? Where the hell does this alleged trade-off come in? How the fuck is it necessary to acknowledge that Person B has committed offenses in order to be able to point to Person A's offenses?

This is the thread about Bill Cosby being accused of rape. You want to talk about Schwarzenegger, start a thread about him.
posted by Lexica at 10:37 AM on October 21, 2014 [55 favorites]


tzikeh, i looked at gwint's link (10:16) and it's a disclosure of witnesses and documents. there are nine jane does, several lawyers, several police officers, a psychotherapist, and some documents in possession of those redoubts of journalism, the national enquirer and celebrity justice.

i apologize for being an evidence-based guy who does not immediately rush to judgment the way you want me to, particularly in matters as serious as this.
posted by bruce at 10:37 AM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


I've heard that Schwarzenegger is a sexual harasser, probably has committed sexual assault, and is a general pervy creep, but I've never heard the pedophilia accusation. What's the story on that?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:37 AM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


sure - a dozen or more allegations on a famous man wouldn't be necessarily noteworthy, especially with as promiscuous as cosby has apparently always been, but the allegations are stunningly similar and exact, describing a specific fetish. that's a lot harder to pull out of thin air.

Also his defense to the main accusation in the Timeline article that was settled out of court was basically "Yes I had sex with her but it was consensual and the mysterious pills I gave her were just Benadryl" which is pretty shady sounding.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:40 AM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love it when we trash media outlets for not being clean enough... let's not forget that that "redoubt of journalism", the National Enquirer, broke the story on John Edwards's affair and love child and won a damn Pulitzer for it. But please, be snotty about it.
posted by palomar at 10:42 AM on October 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


i apologize for being an evidence-based guy who does not immediately rush to judgment the way you want me to

In your unhurried jaunt to judgement, you should very well have just held off saying anything at all.
posted by griphus at 10:42 AM on October 21, 2014 [92 favorites]


Also, I guess somewhat topically, Burress does have a bit about meeting a girl in a club at 4am in Scotland and being weirded out by the fact she quoted rape statistics. In that bit, he jokes that he doesn't hang out with anyone who quotes rape statistics.

That's a problematic joke. I love Buress but, yeah, this joke and the one leading up to it from his Animal Furnace set don't reflect very well on him. But this Cosby thing does reflect well on him. People aren't perfect. Maybe he's learned something along the way. I wonder if anyone has or will ask him about these jokes in the uproar around the Cosby stuff.
posted by mullacc at 10:43 AM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I get tired of this 'wealthy people are a target' canard. I notice that it tends to be deployed a lot more often when the 'target' is male and well-liked.
posted by lodurr at 10:43 AM on October 21, 2014 [30 favorites]


To express an extraordinarily detested opinion here, if Picasso were a child molester, Guernica would still be beautiful and moving; if Einstein were a serial killer, his thoughts would still be breathtaking and earth-shattering; if Miles Davis was a detestable human being, I would still listen to Bitches Brew regularly. I actually know a young woman accosted by Cosby when she was a "starlet" on Hollywood Squares. She avoided the situation by having been pre-warned by EVERYONE it was going to happen. It doesn't mean I'm still not going to laugh my ass off at 'Chicken Heart' whenever I hear it. Art is amoral. People are immoral. Cosby is a monster, fueled by early life suppression and early life success. It doesn't mean he isn't funny. He is a horrible human being. A funny, funny, horrible human being. The two are separable.
posted by umberto at 10:43 AM on October 21, 2014 [32 favorites]


those redoubts of journalism, the national enquirer and celebrity justice.

Reminder that the National Enquirer broke the John Edwards affair story. They also appear to have been involved in the Ennis Cosby case.

I'm not saying they aren't a tabloid. I'm just saying they aren't always wrong.

On preview, what palomar said.
posted by maryr at 10:44 AM on October 21, 2014


He was after all Melvin van Peebles' last stop when looking for funding, and if Melvin van Peebles (who could definitely look out for himself) was concerned about taking money from him....

Not at all trying to defend Cosby but Melvin van Peebles went to him for funding to finish a movie (that he was trying to self-finance) back in the 70s. I guess Cosby could have already had "issues" then but who knows whether they included assaulting women or if that's why van Peebles was seemingly hesitant to ask him for money. Based on a documentary about the making of the film, I got the impression that Van Peebles was operating on a level of ego which didn't run out as quickly as his money did.

It comes from his status as an icon to Americans in terms of parenting, morality, and values.

Make that "some" Americans. Other Americans saw through his pontificating act quite a while ago.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:45 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah you might get more than one bogus accusation against someone as prominent as Bill Cosby, but that all of them agree he starts off by slipping them a roofie, and considering because of that prominence Cosby could probably get girls to line up around the block for an opportunity to voluntarily have sex with him, well yeah that adds up to one hell of a lot of smoke.
posted by localroger at 10:45 AM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


The next time someone is accused of crime directed at a dude, I expect the same level of skeptical SHOW ME PROOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and THIS IS JUST PROFITEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERING!!!!!!!!!!

Because otherwise, the reaction of certain people in this thread is just misogyny, plain and simple.

I actually know a young woman accosted by Cosby when she was a "starlet" on Hollywood Squares. She avoided the situation by having been pre-warned by EVERYONE it was going to happen.

These sentences do not make sense together. More importantly, the victim-blaming implicit in them is really gross.
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:46 AM on October 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


Umbrto, I don't think the claim 'art is amoral' makes sense, for any useful definition of 'art' that I know.
posted by lodurr at 10:46 AM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Cosby is a monster, fueled by early life suppression and early life success. It doesn't mean he isn't funny.

Of course it doesn't mean he's not funny. But just because Cosby is funny doesn't mean that it's appropriate to mention his funniness in a conversation that's about his sexual abuse allegations. Can Cosby be funny after hearing the allegations? Possibly. Is this conversation a good time to remind people of that? Of course not.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:47 AM on October 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


To express an extraordinarily detested opinion here, if Picasso were a child molester, Guernica would still be beautiful and moving

The dissonance is that the accusations against Cosby relate directly to his public persona and his acting career. It's not just that he's accused of doing something awful: it's that the particular accusations stand in stark relief to how he has portrayed himself. If Picasso was a bomber pilot, Guernica would read very differently.
posted by cjelli at 10:48 AM on October 21, 2014 [65 favorites]


" The proof is that WHEN MULTIPLE PEOPLE CLAIM THEY WERE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED, YOU FUCKING BELIEVE THEM."

It's odd. I was recently working on policies for an organization as to how to handle sexual abuse cases, with some basic guarantees for those who who do come forward with abuse claims.

The whole point of the policy was to create a safe, comfortable, no-pressure environment for people to make an official report of what happened...

But let's say that you were one of these women, and you know that Bill Cosby drugged and raped you. Do you not go to the police? Do you wait and wait and wait, and only come forward after a civil suit, and even then, not press charges, when you know that they would be backed up by several witnesses?

I am not defending Bill Cosby, but the fact of the matter is that civil courts were *never* meant as an alternative for criminal courts. And ethically, if these women knew that Cosby raped them, and chose not to pursue criminal charges, and then they heard that there were *SO MANY VICTIMS* and they still chose to go through civil courts for a fraction of a quiet settlement, instead of seeing Cosby put in jail... the question needs to be asked:

What about the next victim(s)? Does 1/16th of a fat check (after half of it is taken by a team of lawyers and taxes have been taken out) really equal justice, especially when your silemce is part of what you are likely selling in the terms of the settlement?
posted by markkraft at 10:48 AM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


It is interesting how such allegations are treated by the public. Clinton has had numerous accuations of rape, Michael Jackson is infamous for the allegations about his raping children, and the list goes on. Some are automatically believed and others are disbelieved no matter what.

Well, let's see. Clinton actually had one rape accusation, Juanita Broaddrick. Michael Jackson had two accusations against him. It's hard to know what to make of these, but I will say there is a difference between one charge in Clinton's case, two substantially different charges in Jackson's case, and 13 charges over multiple years that are substantially similar with Cosby. The sheer number and commonalties in the accusations make it hard to simply dismiss this as people attempting to take advantage of Cosby's celebrity.
posted by maxsparber at 10:49 AM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


Hannibal Buress was on Howard Stern's show this morning, I guess, and he said he's been talking about this in his standup routine for SIX MONTHS. And it's just now getting traction.

Here's an audio clip, NSFW language.

I will say, it's surprising how different the bit comes off listening to Buress tell the joke. You read it, I imagine him shouting at a hostile audience. In reality, it's a lot more casual, and the crowd (in Cosby's hometown, mind you) reacts pretty favorably.
posted by ALongDecember at 10:51 AM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I kind of doubt that what umberto means is that we should support terrible people if they can make great art. I think what he's saying is that it is possible to separate your feelings about the art from the artist.

I can still enjoy "White Christmas" even though I'm well aware that Bing Crosby was a monster who beat his kids.

But I'd stop well short of saying that there are any hard and fast rules about what a person should or should not be able to overlook. Everyone has to decide for themselves on a case by base basis.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:51 AM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


Cosby is a monster, fueled by early life suppression and early life success. It doesn't mean he isn't funny. He is a horrible human being. A funny, funny, horrible human being. The two are separable.

Cosby's making a name for himself now as a moralizing, patronizing critic of society. When he has committed immoral or amoral acts, you can no longer say that who he is can be completely divorced from what he has done. This was what Burress was pointing out, so your haughty "art is separate from the artist" lecture doesn't make any sense.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:52 AM on October 21, 2014 [29 favorites]


...they still chose to go through civil courts for a fraction of a quiet settlement...

And a fraction of the media and defense counsels' prying into every single little aspect of their life that could tangentially be related to their (implied lack of) character and putting them on trial on the world's stage.

You can go up against a multi-millionaire's lawyers, win, and still lose.
posted by griphus at 10:52 AM on October 21, 2014 [35 favorites]


I want to know what people think the legions of women making false rape accusations are hoping to get out of it. From everything I've ever heard, the process of trying (and more often than not, failing) to even bring charges against an accused rapist is fucking traumatic.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:53 AM on October 21, 2014 [64 favorites]


...basically calling Burress a craven opportunist trying to get his name in by calling out Cosby. Plenty of comedians have made a name for themselves with rape jokes. A guy does something markedly different, and he's just white knighting or trying to get attention.

What the fuck. I can't imagine reading my original comment with a less charitable interpretation. I said Burress, a relatively unknown comedian, is brave for taking on such a well known actor and comedian. Of course using your secret decoder ring you've determined that I'm actually calling Burress a craven opportunist white knighting for attention. It's so clear now. Probably this kind of "push back" means I think the rape allegations are fake too; are they any other implications you'd like to foist on me?

Maybe you could think for a second before calling someone "gross", that's all I ask, to consider if your highly negative interpretation is the right one. I'm so tired of this fucking website sometimes.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:54 AM on October 21, 2014 [58 favorites]


most women don't go to the police after they have been raped and most of us have no hope of any sort of monetary compensation. we often feel guilty about the next victim but we also know that us reporting our rape is unlikely to save her anyway since he is likely to get off with nary a hand slap and we will be further ruined by the process.
posted by nadawi at 10:55 AM on October 21, 2014 [71 favorites]


There are lots of very wealthy well-connected men in entertainment who are not repeatedly accused of leaving women drugged and half-dressed in his wake. After the 6th or 7th, you'd think he'd stop being alone with women who weren't his wife, if he was the innocent target of a grand conspiracy.

The whole point of the policy was to create a safe, comfortable, no-pressure environment for people to make an official report of what happened...

Are you trying to suggest that's a done deal now that you worked on a policy? It's all good now? Retroactive to the 70s?

If I was one of those women, and I knew that Bill Cosby drugged and raped me, and I knew every cop in the fucking station was going to react like I said their favorite dad raped me, I would STFU and try to get on with my life until someone else's legal action made me realize I might be able to pursue some kind of closure with the barrier of an attorney between me and all the disbelief and bullshit.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:55 AM on October 21, 2014 [55 favorites]


When the man chose to pay out a multimillion dollar settlement to one accuser to hush her up, that said a lot to me.

That's the key for me too. I'm reminded of the scene in Primary Colors when Kathy Bates' character dresses down Travolta's because he had blood samples switched regarding the paternity of a 14 year old girl's child: "It's not that the kid was yours, it's that you thought it could be."

Whether or not he's guilty (and for the record, that many women saying the same thing? Yeah, he's guilty), he thought he could be--there's no other reason for paying someone off with that kind of money. Same with Michael Jackson, and all the other powerful people who make gags out of huge cheques.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:56 AM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


A man is 631 times more likely to become an NFL player than to be falsely accused of rape. Thirty-two times more likely to be struck by lightning! Eleven times more likely to be hit by a comet. That's right. It's more likely that Cosby would be struck by a comet than that 13 women are falsely accusing him.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:56 AM on October 21, 2014 [102 favorites]


There are lots of very wealthy well-connected men in entertainment who are not repeatedly accused of leaving women drugged and half-dressed in his wake.

Fucking precisely.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2014 [21 favorites]


But let's say that you were one of these women, and you know that Bill Cosby drugged and raped you. Do you not go to the police? Do you wait and wait and wait, and only come forward after a civil suit, and even then, not press charges, when you know that they would be backed up by several witnesses?

How many stories about rapes being reported to cops and not being pursued any further would you, as a woman, need to hear before you felt unsafe going to the police? How many news articles would you need to read about famous men getting off scot-free after being accused of rape, before you would doubt your ability to be heard?

Don't be so obtuse.
posted by palomar at 10:58 AM on October 21, 2014 [68 favorites]


The next time someone is accused of crime directed at a dude, I expect the same level of skeptical SHOW ME PROOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By "the same level" you mean "hardly any"? The overwhelming sentiment in this thread is "where there's smoke there's fire." There are a few people expressing skepticism about the accusations, but they're a tiny minority.
posted by yoink at 11:03 AM on October 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


Do you not go to the police? Do you wait and wait and wait, and only come forward after a civil suit, and even then, not press charges, when you know that they would be backed up by several witnesses?
...
What about the next victim(s)? Does 1/16th of a fat check (after half of it is taken by a team of lawyers and taxes have been taken out) really equal justice, especially when your silence is part of what you are likely selling in the terms of the settlement?


I have not been in this position, but I am going to hazard some guesses: No. Yes. Trying to think about them is overwhelming. No, but it might help get a life back on track.

People who have gone through traumatic experiences don't necessarily make logical choices. Victims blame themselves. Victims try to move on with their lives. Victims don't want to be seen as victims.

Honest, non-aggressive (at least, I don't mean for them to be) questions follow: You said you're currently working on policies to make reporting sexual abuse cases safer. Haven't you been seeing how hard it can be to report these cases? How many things need to be considered and how procedures have to be put in place to make the process safe? And that's when you working on this *recently*. How many of those mechanisms were even being considered before the statute of limitations might have run out on these cases?
posted by maryr at 11:07 AM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


But let's say that you were one of these women, and you know that Bill Cosby drugged and raped you. Do you not go to the police? Do you wait and wait and wait, and only come forward after a civil suit, and even then, not press charges, when you know that they would be backed up by several witnesses?

Given how police more often than not handle rape victims who are brave enough to come forward, they would be the last option that many women would turn to, even if they were trying to be the crusading saviors that you seem to imagine them needing to be after having been the victim of a rape. That's not even to consider the harrowing subsequent ordeal of having to be dragged through a criminal proceeding.

So, no, you do not automatically "go to the police" if you are a rape victim.
posted by blucevalo at 11:09 AM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


There are multiple accusations against him, all outlining the same modus operandi. If you mean "proof" such as photos, stained sheets, a video of Bill Cosby admitting that he's a rapist, then no, there's no "proof". If you're willing to accept sworn statements as proof, since the people who made those sworn statements can be charged with perjury if found to be false, and no one's been charged with perjury, and Cosby was willing to pay one accuser millions of dollars to get the case to go away... that's enough proof for me that something is not right here. And I don't believe for a minute that there's some kind of cabal of women plotting together to bring this man down. To believe that would mean I am an idiot. I'm not. I hope you're not either.
posted by palomar at 11:09 AM on October 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


stoneweaver, your statistical demonstration (10:56) seems to imply a level of divine omniscience about the merits of those allegations (three significant digits) which i do not possess myself. i am still trying to determine if 13 women have actually accused him of rape, or if they are jane does listed in support of one woman's allegation. i don't think this makes me a misogynist, unless "misogynist" is just a card in a RPG.

yoink, i didn't intend to be heard as "skeptical" about these allegations, i have no opinion one way or the other until i see the evidence. i had never heard that bill cosby was a bad guy until this morning.
posted by bruce at 11:15 AM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was somewhat suprised that his personal history wasn't brought up in the recent thread lauding The Cosby Show for its progressive views regarding sexism.
posted by vapidave at 11:17 AM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was somewhat suprised that his personal history wasn't brought up in the recent thread lauding The Cosby Show for its progressive views regarding sexism

So was I. I was thinking this would end up being a double for mefi purposes, but no.
posted by josher71 at 11:19 AM on October 21, 2014


"that's enough proof for me that something is not right here"

I am not denying that. I just wish that the same women -- any of them -- had decided that the time was right to take it to a criminal court, because the statute of limitations hasn't run out on these cases.

I know that criminal courts can be really rough on women trying to bring forward a rape conviction... but civil courts can be rough too. From what I can tell, though, the settlement doesn't seem to have stopped all of the women in question from pursuing matters further.

But it would be a mistake to view Cosby's behavior as particularly unique, as there are doubtless many other well-known abusers of consent out there.
posted by markkraft at 11:20 AM on October 21, 2014


I've linked this a few times before, and it's just too fitting. It's called Sexual Harassment Conversations, in Comic Form, but it also applies to any conversation where a woman is accusing a man of inappropriate behavior, from sexual harassment to sexual assault and rape. Here's a transcript:
"Bob Smith groped my breasts at Generi-Con last month."
Why are you trying to ruin Bob's reputation?
Another man condemned without trial in the court of internet opinion.
Witch hunt!
Online lynch mob!
I've never seen Bob harass anyone!
That's not really harassment. It's just Bob being Bob.
Ridiculous gossip.

"I was sexually harassed last month, but I'd prefer not to name names."
How can I judge the situation if you won't be specific?
If you were really harassed, you'd give the details.
These vague and nebulous references are worse than useless.
If you don't name names, you're responsible if he does it again!
I need to hear his side of the story.
You obviously don't care about fixing the problem. You just want attention.

"..."
She's not saying anything. That must mean nothing happened.
I haven't heard about all this sexual harassment. It must not really be a problem.
If this is so widespread, why don't more women speak out?
Why on earth would a woman be afraid to report harassment?
Oh, good. Can we get back to talking about real problems now?
It will never stop depressing me how predictable the constant rejoinders for "proof" and "evidence" are here, because they're ONLY trotted out in threads involving women who have been harassed, assaulted, or raped. The guys who spout this shit want to play like they're just crusaders for justice, but their curious absence in threads about any other kind of accusation makes it painfully clear that their only purpose is to try to plant a seed in our minds that all of these women, or at least a consequential percentage of them, are lying.

In lieu of being presented with something, anything they could find more believable than a lying woman's word -- or, in this case, 13 lying women's words -- the Proof Brigade choose to parrot the same tired line: that it is effectively impossible a man has indeed committed rape or assault unless or until the overwhelmingly non-responsive arm of the law deigns to proffer confirmation that his accuser isn't just making it all up for kicks. Because as we all know, false rape accusations are a ton of fun, maybe even more fun than unsuccessful rape prosecutions!

I'll never forget when a guy here at MeFi insisted, in all apparent seriousness, that accusations of sexual harassment must not be taken under any kind of advisement until three or more additional witnesses have agreed to testify on the accuser's behalf, but at least I've stopped being so shocked by the fact that there's a hell of a lot of indignant dudes who believe that sort of bullshit in earnest.
posted by divined by radio at 11:20 AM on October 21, 2014 [182 favorites]


I just wish that the same women -- any of them -- had decided that the time was right to take it to a criminal court, because the statute of limitations hasn't run out on these cases.

I bet they wish that, too, because look at the grief they're getting because of it. But that's how a society and an industry that are both still very much grounded in misogyny works.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:23 AM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


i had never heard that bill cosby was a bad guy until this morning.

And many of us have known about this for a long time. People Magazine published an article about it in 2006, for example. That was my first exposure to it.

I just wish that the same women -- any of them -- had decided that the time was right to take it to a criminal court, because the statute of limitations hasn't run out on these cases.

And I just wish that our judicial system actually gave two shits about any rape victim, ever, because then maybe it would be worthwhile to report these things to other's satisfaction. And it would be super cool if we could avoid doing this victim-blaming thing. It's gross.
posted by palomar at 11:23 AM on October 21, 2014 [22 favorites]


i am still trying to determine if 13 women have actually accused him of rape, or if they are jane does listed in support of one woman's allegation.

He's been accused of drugging and/or sexual abuse by 13 women.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:28 AM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


i am still trying to determine if 13 women have actually accused him of rape, or if they are jane does listed in support of one woman's allegation

You should read this article linked in a comment up above. Barbara Bowman, Tamara Green and Beth Ferrier were three of the Jane Does listed in the civil suit that Andrea Constand brought against Bill Cosby and have stepped forward to speak publicly about being raped by Bill Cosby.

I understand the motivation for extending the benefit of a doubt to Bill Cosby. I wonder why it's so hard for some people to extend that same benefit to rape victims.
posted by turaho at 11:28 AM on October 21, 2014 [37 favorites]


bruce: "stoneweaver, your statistical demonstration (10:56) seems to imply a level of divine omniscience about the merits of those allegations (three significant digits) which i do not possess myself. i am still trying to determine if 13 women have actually accused him of rape, or if they are jane does listed in support of one woman's allegation. i don't think this makes me a misogynist, unless "misogynist" is just a card in a RPG.
"

Home viewers, please daub the "it's your job to inform me, the impartial and unrequested arbiter" square. If you have the "about readily googable information" powerplay, you are now eligible for double bonuses.
posted by boo_radley at 11:31 AM on October 21, 2014 [75 favorites]


hey 2bucksplus, apologies if I missed your point. It's been called to my attention many times in this thread that I have misread it, so for that I apologize. I wasn't trying to be uncharitable, that was just what I saw. That said, I wasn't calling you gross, or "foisting" anything on anyone, much less rape denial.
posted by sweetkid at 11:32 AM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


It seems to me like there's no proof short of a completely disinterested witness or a video recording that would be sufficient to resolve the he-said/she-said nature of acquaintance rapes beyond any doubt. And even then, it could all be explained away: "I'm so sorry, I was also drunk/on drugs. No need to say that if I were sober, I would never do such a thing! I'm seeking treatment and I ask for your privacy at this time."
posted by muddgirl at 11:33 AM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I mean, if thirteen people came forward and gave detailed accounts of how someone swindled them out of their life savings, I doubt you'd have many people wondering if the accusers just made up their stories.
posted by turaho at 11:33 AM on October 21, 2014 [60 favorites]


Home viewers, please daub the "it's your job to inform me, the impartial and unrequested arbiter" square. If you have the "about readily googable information" powerplay, you are now eligible for double bonuses.

I don't see where stoneweaver called anyone a misogynist, either. The only person who has used the word misogynist is bruce, as far as I can tell.
posted by sweetkid at 11:33 AM on October 21, 2014


I'm not being "skeptical" I'm just muddying the waters and my Google is broken.

Not all wealthy men, etc, etc.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:34 AM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


i like my historical dramas/fiction but the women are always constantly concerned (with good reason) that they will be "ruined" if they have sex with someone they who they are not married to - regardless of whether that sex was forced or not.

it is absolutely a fucking goddman travesty that CENTURIES later, a woman can still be ruined by being raped. sure, she might still get married, but if she accuses a noble, well, same shit different century. she will probably lose her reputation, a lot of money, and her dignity. she could lose her job, her family, her friends.

what the fuck. how is this story not any different now? argh. women don't make up rape accusations for fun. i don't understand why people even think they would. happens about as often as voter fraud probably. and as someone pointed out, a man is more likely to be hit by a COMET than be falsely accused.

a comet. a freaking comet.
posted by sio42 at 11:35 AM on October 21, 2014 [39 favorites]


have over a dozen named women really charged him, or are these just anonymous allegations? this is something that should be pressed in court toward a formal adjudication.
...
i am still trying to determine if 13 women have actually accused him of rape, or if they are jane does listed in support of one woman's allegation.

Sorry, are you asking if thirteen women have accused him of assault? Or if thirteen women have filed charges against him? It's not totally clear what you're asking -- is 'really charged' synonymous with 'actually accused' or are those two different questions?
posted by cjelli at 11:36 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


i had never heard that bill cosby was a bad guy until this morning.

That part is even addressed in Buress's bit: "I’ve done this bit on stage, and people don’t believe. People think I’m making it up. …That shit is upsetting. If you didn’t know about it, trust me. You leave here and Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny. That shit has more results than Hannibal Buress." Seriously, start googling this if you don't know anything about it.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:38 AM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


thank you palomar, we're now up to four named witnesses, constand, bowman, green, ferrier; it's starting to look like bill cosby has a problem.
posted by bruce at 11:40 AM on October 21, 2014


is no one going to discuss his crimes against knitwear?
posted by C.A.S. at 11:42 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


A man is 631 times more likely to become an NFL player than to be falsely accused of rape. Thirty-two times more likely to be struck by lightning! Eleven times more likely to be hit by a comet. That's right. It's more likely that Cosby would be struck by a comet than that 13 women are falsely accusing him.

Quoting from the linked article: "But using statistics from the FBI and Department of Justice, it’s estimated that on an annual basis, the odds of the average straight man (the target group overwhelmingly concerned with this) in the U.S. being accused of rape are 2.7 million to 1."

So what we're talking about is the odds of being accused of rape *at all*, justly or unjustly. Being accused of rape is an unlikely thing to happen to any particular man.
posted by in278s at 11:42 AM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


...it's starting to look like bill cosby has a problem.

And how many women would it take before he moves from "starting to look like he has a problem" to having an actual problem?
posted by Floydd at 11:43 AM on October 21, 2014 [42 favorites]


I've written previously here on the blue about how my workplace had a culture of rape and sexual harassment. This is being changed right now - yeah! But, the rapists all had the same profile as Cosby: popular, funny, married, well-off, well-connected, powerful.
Victims didn't want to report harassment incidents or rape because they (rightly) believed it would end their careers.
I grew up watching the Cosby show, and it makes me sad to think Bill Cosby is a rapist. But I positively know the same is true of some of my "mentors" at school and at work. Since they have never harmed me (you wouldn't either), I have never been able to file a complaint or call the police. But I would have, regardless of my respect for their professional work. Great art, or other accomplishments, are just not an excuse for rape.
posted by mumimor at 11:48 AM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


Jesus wept. "Starting to look like he has a problem."
posted by palomar at 11:49 AM on October 21, 2014 [27 favorites]


yeah floydd, i hear what you're saying, i'm just incredibly appalled and disappointed that bill cosby could be a rapist. he seemed like such a nice guy on tv. who's next? i almost wish i hadn't looked at metafilter this morning.
posted by bruce at 11:49 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


is no one going to discuss his crimes against knitwear?

Guys, let's not play the cardigan card again.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:49 AM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


I especially like the part where the unnamed witnesses are assumed to be liars, as if it's completely inconceivable that someone with loads of money, serious cultural cachet, and friends in high places could use that and/or the judicial system to ruin their lives. Or maybe they're just supposed to be cowards who are out for money? I can't tell.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:50 AM on October 21, 2014 [14 favorites]


I actually know a young woman accosted by Cosby when she was a "starlet" on Hollywood Squares. She avoided the situation by having been pre-warned by EVERYONE it was going to happen.

just another missing stair.
posted by nadawi at 11:51 AM on October 21, 2014 [43 favorites]


we're now up to four named witnesses, constand, bowman, green, ferrier; it's starting to look like bill cosby has a problem.

So, what, we're discounting the nine other women who have reported this simply on the basis that they might be too frightened or uncomfortable to reveal their names? That seems remarkably unfair to them.
posted by angeline at 11:52 AM on October 21, 2014 [28 favorites]


thank you palomar, we're now up to four named witnesses, constand, bowman, green, ferrier; it's starting to look like bill cosby has a problem.

Because one isn't a problem. That has to be another square on the bingo, right?
posted by stoneweaver at 11:54 AM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


Jesus wept. "Starting to look like he has a problem."

Up until now, Cosby's gotten away with it with minimal effort. Doesn't sound like he views it as much of a problem.
posted by delfin at 11:55 AM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I thought this was news to me, until I dimly remembered that I had heard about it before, and apparently not taken it seriously enough to, you know, remember it. And this means that I'm somewhat ashamed of mid-2000s me for forgetting. And I won't forget now. When gentle integrity is such a part of someone's comic persona, yes, hypocrisy rends that persona worthless as the oblique kind of role model I tend to pigeonhole people like that in.
posted by ambrosen at 11:55 AM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I haven't commented in this thread yet mainly because I have been left utterly speechless by the pushback here. It is mind-boggling.

THIRTEEN PEOPLE. Not one person making up a story. 13 People telling similar stories.

Yeah, but it's not "people", though, right? Women. It's women who are making up these stories about that nice man Bill Cosby.

If thirteen people accused your spouse of drugging and raping them, would you stay married to that person? If thirteen people accused your father or brother of drugging and raping them, would you still visit for a nice family Christmas? I mean, what the fuck. This is so, so clearly Not a Nice Guy. Good thing he's a man, though, who's rich and famous and funny.
posted by something something at 11:55 AM on October 21, 2014 [21 favorites]


23skiddo: . Can Cosby be funny after hearing the allegations? Possibly. Is this conversation a good time to remind people of that? Of course not.

Buress is quoted in the FPP as saying "I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns." Since this conversation is specifically about Buress' remarks on Cosby, I think the door is opened for a discussion on separating the art from the artist.

I don't think thirteen women just make up allegations and while I may not feel comfortable making a call about any specific case, the number and chilling similarity in the obligations puts Cobsy well beyond any reasonable benefit of the doubt outside the courtroom. He almost certainly is a predator; to "more likely to be struck by a comet" degree as argued above.

That said, I don't think that imposes an obligation on me to look at Cosby's entertainment/art in a different way, but it seems Buress does. (Disclosure: I've never seen the Cosby Show, and really my only exposure to him is Jerry Seinfeld's comic-hajj to his show in the documentary Comedian. )
posted by spaltavian at 11:58 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


and as someone pointed out, a man is more likely to be hit by a COMET than be falsely accused.

a comet. a freaking comet.


I think there's some misunderstanding by the Buzzfeed author there, or at least an incompatible comparison with the other statistics listed - the citation link goes here (Ctrl-F "Human Hazards") and the numbers mentioned are actually the likelihood that in any given year the Earth is hit by an asteroid or comet that puts an end to the entire human race.

Up above in the same page is a list of five occasions during the last century when meteorites have hit humans and none of those cases appear to have been fatal.
posted by XMLicious at 11:59 AM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I liked Hannibal the moment I first saw him on the Eric Andre show, and I keep liking him more and more.
posted by whuppy at 12:00 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Victims didn't want to report harassment incidents or rape because they (rightly) believed it would end their careers.

I think the other part about acquaintance rape that people have a hard time realizing or accepting, is that many of these women would not want to jeopardize their relationship with Cosby by accusing him, either. Like, it does not make sense to us strangers that someone as nice and charming and funny as Cosby would rape women - it would be even more dizzying and disorienting to someone who is even closer to him - a mentee or a romantic partner. It only seems natural that it could take some women years of observation and reflection to reconcile the man they think they know with the rape, much less decide what to do about it.
posted by muddgirl at 12:00 PM on October 21, 2014 [17 favorites]


How many news articles would you need to read about famous men getting off scot-free after being accused of rape, before you would doubt your ability to be heard?

Hell, if you're famous enough, you could be convicted in a court of law, skip town without spending a single day in jail, and still make millions and get industry awards while your accuser is lambasted as some sort of Lolita.

The cards are stacked, folks.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:01 PM on October 21, 2014 [25 favorites]


There is no paucity of overly moral "characters" [politicians, actors etc.] practicing what they present as immoral. It's pretty much a cliché at this point right?
posted by vapidave at 12:01 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


unfortunately - many people still go to a nice family christmas with rapists - i do. 4 generations on, who are the victims, who are the abusers, and who are the enablers gets muddied and complicated. some people are strong enough to cut off the family entirely. some stay close to try to protect the never ending stream of children being born into it, and some cowards like me engage as little as possible with the most problematic parts but are unable to fully pull away.

one reason that men like bill cosby (and the preacher dad from 7th heaven) get away with this is that fame, celebrity, certain reputations can buy you enough goodwill that you can do whatever you want. another reason is that giant swaths of the population have already gone through the mental gymnastics to coexist with the rapists in their own communities.
posted by nadawi at 12:02 PM on October 21, 2014 [33 favorites]


Thank you Hannibal Burress. Bill Cosby needs to go to jail, and barring that, have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up
posted by aydeejones at 12:04 PM on October 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


I was amazed at how this originally disappeared so quickly from the public eye, like the Arthur C. Clarke allegations. The efficiency of the PR machine was impressive.
posted by mecran01 at 12:05 PM on October 21, 2014


Seriously click that "coke and a smile" link though, it's Eddie Murphy, an also problematic comedian, but it brings a smile to your face if you don't have a coke handy.
posted by aydeejones at 12:06 PM on October 21, 2014


...and some cowards like me...

nadawi, I've been reading your comments for years now, and "coward" is just about the very last word I'd pick to describe you.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:15 PM on October 21, 2014 [60 favorites]


"Why didn't they speak up?"

Rainn Wilson Proves, Once Again, That Hollywood Doesn’t Care About Rape Victims

Here's a woman who speaks up against some who-cares VINE "celebrity". The guy cops a felony plea deal to get the rape charge dropped, acts like a dick about it on Twitter, and all he walks away with is Rainn Wilson producing a movie for him.

But no, I'm sure the machine would have stopped working for Bill Cosby.
posted by Legomancer at 12:17 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I was amazed at how this originally disappeared so quickly from the public eye, like the Arthur C. Clarke allegations.

In case anyone's curious, here's a good overview of the allegations from 1998. To me, the stories are vastly different, but I may be biased.
posted by muddgirl at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


bruce: yeah floydd, i hear what you're saying, i'm just incredibly appalled and disappointed that bill cosby could be a rapist. he seemed like such a nice guy on tv. who's next? i almost wish i hadn't looked at metafilter this morning.

Oh my fucking God.

Please read over your comment and see if you can't come up with just one of the reasons that it's unbelievably tone-deaf.
posted by tzikeh at 12:21 PM on October 21, 2014 [30 favorites]


I guess somewhat topically, Burress does have a bit about meeting a girl in a club at 4am in Scotland and being weirded out by the fact she quoted rape statistics. In that bit, he jokes that he doesn't hang out with anyone who quotes rape statistics.

Well, the joke is that he doesn't hang out with people after last call who want to hang out and then quote rape statistics. He did the right thing by taking that as an early sign that there would be "consent trouble" down the road. The woman in the joke is being wishy-washy and manipulative or just nervous, and it's nice of him to put an end to the situation. The problematic part is when she refuses to stop talking and he equates that to rape.
posted by aydeejones at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


First I'm totally not defending Bill Cosby here. I too find it "hard" to believe that someone as loved and respected would or could do these terrible things. But while we clearly are never going to know "for sure" that he did all these terrible things, it's also pretty clear he did enough to qualify as a rather horrible monster. The joy he gave us in no way excuses or dismisses any of that.

But truely... "paying someone off" is in no way proof of anything. Lots of PR agencies will tell celebs to pay the money up quick so that they won't end up judged (either fairly or unfairly) in the really fucked up court of public opinion.

And thus comes my total WTF is going on here... Why are things like this being decided in the court of public opinion and in Civil Courts. As long as serious cases like Murder and Rape are going to Civil trials, society is being badly served and lots of these "doubts" will be allowed to fester. People will pay "hush" money and witnesses will get intimidated or slandered in the media. And also muddying the waters, the innocent (or at least innocent of what they are currently accused) will suffer from false accusations.

There needs to be a huge overhaul that makes criminal trials mandatory and gets rid of most of these civil trials. Importantly we need to remove the institutional difficulties and fear that victims must overcome to bring the charges to bear. But this stuff also needs to stay out of the public eye until they are decided. The accused do deserve the right to be innocent until proven guilty and a fair trial.

Most importantly the wronged deserve justice, as does society... no one gains by having the guilty go free. And the fact that anyone could be afraid of reporting being raped... the fact that this is allowed to continue makes my head explode and my blood boil.
posted by cirhosis at 12:28 PM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Can anybody tell me if this was addressed in any way in the Cosby biography that just came out?

Wondering because I thought it was odd that the bio was begun without Cosby's cooperation but completed with it.
posted by Flexagon at 12:31 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd never want to be famous. A huge percentage of people are ready and eager to "find out" terrible things about you.
posted by the jam at 11:57 AM


A very famous man has a history of rape accusations and yet for whatever reason those accusations have been largely ignored by both media and the public and swept under the rug for years.

That kind of flies in the face of your theory.
posted by justgary at 12:36 PM on October 21, 2014 [17 favorites]


one concrete thing that people can do who wish the judicial process were more trustworthy on this topic is to read about, and maybe donate to, end the backlog.
posted by nadawi at 12:36 PM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


and according to you, we're never going to know "for sure."

Please, for the love of justice, when you are next called for jury duty, do everything humanly possible to get out of it.


You are distorting the meaning of this comment, and your truncation is quite unfair. The rest of the line sentence "is it's also pretty clear he did enough to qualify as a rather horrible monster. The joy he gave us in no way excuses or dismisses any of that".

Your quip about jury duty is exactly backwards, at trial you really do need more than allegation. It's completely possible to think someone did it but feel not enough evidence is presented. Of course, that doesn't even apply in this case, because the person said "for sure" not "beyond a reasonable doubt". I think you could pull back a little.
posted by spaltavian at 12:42 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


[A few comments removed; hard topic, everybody please try and cool it a little.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:44 PM on October 21, 2014


You are distorting the meaning of this comment, and your truncation is quite unfair. The rest of the line sentence "is it's also pretty clear he did enough to qualify as a rather horrible monster. The joy he gave us in no way excuses or dismisses any of that".

I don't believe my truncation is unfair, because I believe that anything that comes after "we'll never know for sure" when faced with thirteen separate accounts by thirteen different women of the same sexual assault M.O. from the same man doesn't mitigate the rape culture in play. "We'll never know for sure" is why women don't report rape, and why those that do rarely get to trial, and why those MINUSCULE few that make it to trial are disgustingly disproportionately found not guilty -- because people look at situations like this and can still say "we'll never know for sure." Because when it comes to women accusing men, we'll never know for sure. That's the baseline thinking.

So no, I don't believe my truncation is unfair. I don't think the rest of what he said matters when it comes to the unstoppable, crushing machine of men not believing women.
posted by tzikeh at 12:47 PM on October 21, 2014 [14 favorites]


cirhosis: And thus comes my total WTF is going on here... Why are things like this being decided in the court of public opinion and in Civil Courts. As long as serious cases like Murder and Rape are going to Civil trials, society is being badly served and lots of these "doubts" will be allowed to fester. People will pay "hush" money and witnesses will get intimidated or slandered in the media. And also muddying the waters, the innocent (or at least innocent of what they are currently accused) will suffer from false accusations.

There needs to be a huge overhaul that makes criminal trials mandatory and gets rid of most of these civil trials. Importantly we need to remove the institutional difficulties and fear that victims must overcome to bring the charges to bear. But this stuff also needs to stay out of the public eye until they are decided.


Well, yes, and this I think is a major source of disconnect: We do not now have mechanisms that allow people to safely and reasonably pursue assault claims in criminal court, when they are made against powerful people.

That is our simple reality, and that's why we use civil claims for this.

Is that bad? Absolutely. But it's really important that we not pretend we can just say "it all needs to be criminal claims now, no more civil."

I'm not saying you're making that claim, BTW -- in fact it seems to me you are acknowledging that we can't do that. But I think it bears repeating: If we just say 'powerful people should be subject to the same law as everyone else', without actually doing anything about it, we will still need civil courts, and we'll still need to be able to 'try in the court of public opinion' when those civil courts inevitably fail to get justice.
posted by lodurr at 12:48 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's not like our legal system operates in a vacuum. I don't see how requiring criminal trials will fix anything, because we live in a culture that is at best ambivalent about whether or not consent is a good thing in sexual activity.

At least with civil trials victims have a venue to seek restitution that they can control to some extent.
posted by muddgirl at 12:49 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tzikeh, I have to disagree that it is an unfair truncation, when the rest of the sentence is saying that I clearly believe the women accusing him that I think He is a horrible monster.

My inclusion of the words "for sure" has obviously struck something with you and I'm sorry for that. It wasn't my intent to excuse Cosby. It was to rail against the situation that perpetuates this. Clearly everything around how his case is being dealt with allows and encourages some to doubt the accusers... Not that some will dismiss the word of women (no mater how many) over one man (famous or not) in any case.
posted by cirhosis at 12:53 PM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


This feels like a good moment to point out that everyone comes here with wildly varying degrees of understanding of this topic and sophistication in regards to how they are accustomed to discussing it.

On Metafilter in particular you're more likely to be dealing with transitional ignorance as opposed to actual malice. Education forwards the cause of awareness better than shaming, every time.

Everyone is a work in progress.
posted by Ryvar at 12:54 PM on October 21, 2014 [35 favorites]


lodurr and muddgirl... I definitely agree with your criticism... hopefully my comments can't be taken as saying everything would be fixed if we stopped all these civil trials.

I'm definitely saying that I think the proper place to deal with this is as a criminal case... but yes first there needs to be some huge changes that allows that criminal case to be decided justly... and that removes the fear that prevents women from going to the police.
posted by cirhosis at 12:57 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


My inclusion of the words "for sure" has obviously struck something with you and I'm sorry for that. It wasn't my intent to excuse Cosby.

I did not read the "for sure" as you excusing Cosby--I understood that you weren't excusing him. My issue was that you said we'll never know if it's true even with so many women saying, independently, that they had been sexually assaulted by Cosby. What will it take, then, to know "for sure?" Maybe we are not understanding "knowing for sure" the same way.
posted by tzikeh at 1:04 PM on October 21, 2014


But let's say that you were one of these women, and you know that Bill Cosby drugged and raped you. Do you not go to the police?

Police won't believe a woman who was raped by a stranger in an alley because she had two drinks that night and you think a SWAT team is going to bust Bill fucking Cosby
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 1:07 PM on October 21, 2014 [56 favorites]


You are definitely reading the sentence differently than I intended. I had the "for sure" in quotes to hold it up to ridicule... obviously that is not coming across....

Maybe what I should have said was "while we'll never likely have a court decision that will prove the accusations, that will show beyond a reasonable doubt that Cosby is guilty of the crimes he is accused of..."

My problem is that we have the evidence of 13 women, all saying the same thing about one man. Yet we can't have a criminal court case that convicts him? That is beyond a travesty of justice and into the absurd.
posted by cirhosis at 1:10 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Appalling, but not, sadly, surprising. I only really know Cosby from the 60s comedy albums, and not from anything since, but i'm going to have a hard time listening to them now.
One question--the high-profile cases lately--Cosby, Savile--is this a sign that things are getting harder for such celebrity predators? Is the culture changing a little for the better?
posted by librosegretti at 1:12 PM on October 21, 2014


So Joe Pa was a rapist enabler and Cosby a rapist. Is ANYBODY Pennsylvania kids were told to look up to from the state in the 80s not an asshole?
posted by Drinky Die at 1:12 PM on October 21, 2014


Well yes. It basically reflects an undertone to humanity in which women are assumed to be willing subjects to sexual advances by males, and the burden of proof is on the woman to be a visibly tragic fought to the death story book story of innocence shattered in order to assert that she didn't consent OR deserve to be raped. It's pretty much said explicitly in comment threads round the Internet. Pretty much.
posted by aydeejones at 1:14 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


("Well yes" it's crazy that 13 people can't add up to a slam dunk criminal proceeding because each of them is an atomic isolated individual trying to get by and move on and Bill Cosby is an entertainer whose art is largely tied to his image as a lovable goof. Yes people should feel awkward watching the Cosby show. Absolutely)
posted by aydeejones at 1:16 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


You are definitely reading the sentence differently than I intended. I had the "for sure" in quotes to hold it up to ridicule... obviously that is not coming across....

Thank you. Yes, obviously, I did not read it the way you intended it. Thanks for explaining.
posted by tzikeh at 1:17 PM on October 21, 2014


I'm just wondering who in this thread believes that Carlo Gambino or Vincent Gigante couldn't have killed anyone because no one came forward to accuse them with solid evidence.
posted by Errant at 1:17 PM on October 21, 2014 [14 favorites]


The comet thing sounded weird to me, so I looked up the calculations for the comet comparison: 6,750 estimated false accusations in a year compared to 5.1 billion estimated annual instances of interpersonal sexual activity for males in the 15-39 year age range, yielding a 750,000 to 1 estimated probability. Doesn't using that 5.1 billion number yield a probability per sex act? Even if it were an annual number, as the Buzzfeed article claims, that shouldn't be compared to a lifetime risk.

I get that the exact number isn't that important, since the odds are still no doubt vanishingly small. I just get hung up on things like bad statistics, and this helps me get over that and look at the more important things people are saying.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 1:20 PM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm just wondering who in this thread believes that Carlo Gambino or Vincent Gigante couldn't have killed anyone because no one came forward to accuse them with solid evidence.

Um, maybe one person? You're acting like bruce's comments are typical for this thread and they are not.
posted by spaltavian at 1:21 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering how many folks that express skepticism over women's claims of rape have had a close friend of theirs discuss a rape experience with them.

Particularly those that say 'why didn't they go to the police sooner? why aren't they engaging with the criminal justice system?'

I imagine having such a discussion (for gods sake, don't try to start such a discussion, a woman will talk about rape if/when she wants to) would change their viewpoints on the matter.

I knew a girl in high school. She was raped by a fellow school mate (giving her a ride home from an event) who was on the sports team. It took her 6 months to talk to her family about it (after an aborted suicide attempt). They went to the police. The police told her it was unlikely that they would get a conviction (no physical evidence, time had passed since she filed the report, etc). So, no arrest, no charges. She passed her rapist every day in school (her grades went from A's to near failing after the rape). She eventually went to an 'alternative school' (with 'druggies', folks with discipline problems, etc) and passed high school.

I never doubt a women's motivations for not attempting to engage the criminal justice system. I understand why women make the judgement call that just trying to deal with it themselves is better than trying to get justice through the courts. Seeing how rape victims are treated by the media and the public at large when they attempt to get justice makes me understand how women make the decision to never speak of their rapist.

And the girl I knew wasn't attempting to accuse someone rich and famous, just some asshole in high school who was on a basketball team (I don't think this impacted the decision of the police in this case, but I can imagine how infuriating it must have been for the victim to see him treated like a celebrity within the school).

To those that have never had a woman discuss their rape experience with you, I assure you that you've known many many women that have been raped. To those that say 'well, who knows if xyz woman was really raped, it's hard to tell until a court of law has weighed in on it', think about if that would be your reaction if you did know the woman ('well, I've known you for a few years now, but you might be lying about this, you know, because').
posted by el io at 1:22 PM on October 21, 2014 [25 favorites]


My issue was that you said we'll never know if it's true even with so many women saying, independently, that they had been sexually assaulted by Cosby. What will it take, then, to know "for sure?" Maybe we are not understanding "knowing for sure" the same way.

A person can (a) believe someone guilty based on an abundance of indirect evidence (the number of accusers, the similarity of the accusations, the circumstances under which claims were settled out of court, etc.) without (b) knowing for certain whether it happened because of a lack of direct evidence.

Furthermore, (a) above is not superseded by (b) above when discussing these issues, nor is it necessarily some weasel rhetorical posture to jimmy a window of doubt about Cosby's guilt into the conversation. Why it's difficult for you to hold this idea in your head I do not understand, but by all means press on.

Edit: After submitting, I see this post was unnecessary. Yay for misunderstandings happily resolved via thoughtful dialog. \o/
posted by echocollate at 1:23 PM on October 21, 2014


I will never forget my brother thinking the rape statistics were exaggerating, and asking me if I "really thought" that many of my female friends were raped.

I'm not sure he got the point when I eventually told him I was one of the female friends who got raped. These days, the comfort I get is that I'm protecting three other women from it; if I was raped, they won't be. It's rationally and mathematically ridiculous, but it gives some peace.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:25 PM on October 21, 2014 [29 favorites]


Some statistics to consider, for those unaware of the extremity of the low conviction rate for rape, since an educational approach was requested. Given 100 rapes committed:

40 will be reported to the police
10 cases will involve an arrest
8 will lead to prosecutions
4 will lead to felony convictions
3 will end in the perpetrator spending time in jail

In other words, 97% of rapists will never go to jail for their crime. Generally, the closer the relationship between victim and perpetrator, the lower the social status of the victim, and the higher the social status of the perpetrator, the less likely the perpetrator is to be punished for the crime.

Note that male rape victims fare especially poorly, reporting even less frequently to police, and being subjected to even higher levels of disbelief and shaming.

Frankly, while I'm an educator and committed to growth through learning, I do not think that a thread about rape--in which, statistically, there will be many rape victims--is a context in which a patient, gentle, educational tone can be demanded. People who are upset at encountering comments that are dismissive of rape accusations have the right to get angry, and they are punching up, not down, if they target that anger at a specific comment. In other words, this is a tone-argument setting, not an ignorance-shaming setting.

But there are your statistics, FWIW.
posted by DrMew at 1:25 PM on October 21, 2014 [56 favorites]


echocollate: 'direct evidence' = DNA? Witnesses to the rape? Anything else? Or do you have to personally witness a rape for it to be 'direct evidence'?
posted by el io at 1:26 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dr David Lisak argues that the vast majority of rapes (around 90%) are committed by serial rapists like Cosby. Here's an interesting article by Lisak and lawyer M. Claire Harwell that lays out what investigators and prosecutors need to do to win cases against serial predators (basically, treat them like any other crime where you actually do some investigation into the suspect). This method does not require that every sexual assault claim be prosecuted, but every suspect should at least be investigated, rather than telling victims that "there's nothing we can do."
posted by muddgirl at 1:28 PM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


'direct evidence' = DNA? Witnesses to the rape? Anything else? Or do you have to personally witness a rape for it to be 'direct evidence'?

Yes, DNA evidence. Witnesses. Correlating physical evidence: you know, the stuff that doesn't exist in the vast majority of rape cases. No, that does not mean we should not believe someone when they claim they've been raped (Jesus, of course not). My comment was specific to the comments I was addressing in this thread, which were apparently the result of miscommunication since resolved.
posted by echocollate at 1:31 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Threads like this are why I will not ever try again to get my two rapists arrested. There's no point. Even the police told me so. The only people who reacted were the doctors I told the day after the second rape, and they only did that to save their skins. I was trapped inside an urgent care exam room and forcibly restrained so that the doctor could call the police to tell them I had been raped so he wouldn't lose his practice for not reporting the assault. I couldn't leave. It was assault all over again and it was for my own good, even though it clearly had nothing to do with me or my wellbeing.

All of you asking for proof? You are one of the reasons why rapes and sexual assault go unchecked and unpunished. Don't ask for proof. Ask for immediate justice. Victims do not claim abuse for their own amusement.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:31 PM on October 21, 2014 [30 favorites]


I especially like the part where the unnamed witnesses are assumed to be liars, as if it's completely inconceivable that someone with loads of money, serious cultural cachet, and friends in high places could use that and/or the judicial system to ruin their lives.

Whatever you may think of the accusations against Bill Cosby, you have to admit that Celebrity brings out weirdness in some people. All sorts of shit can be said about them, and be held up as truth that defies belief.

And again, I'm not saying these women in particular are lying or whatever. I just think that for that reason it is easier to take an accusation against Bill Cosby Realtor at face value than an equivalent one against Bill Cosby Famous Entertainer. So, naturally, people tend to extend a bit more credit to the famous person than to the victim, because, well, it does happen that Celebrity attracts the crazies.

Personally, I've never like BC that much, and I feel that the number and weight of the accusations are pretty damning. But, what? This just moves him further down on my list of people whose works I don't watch anyway.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:33 PM on October 21, 2014


To those that ask the question "why didn't the women report the rape by the famous person right after the rape?"

I would refer you to this thread in which women who literally have blood on them after being beaten by the their husbands have the police arrive only to ask the perpetrator for an autograph. And those football stars are not nearly as famous as Mr Cosby. The women not reporting are unfortunately making a rational decision.
posted by el io at 1:34 PM on October 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


Ask for immediate justice.

I'm not sure what this means, exactly. Can you elaborate?
posted by josher71 at 1:35 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really don't like "the court of public opinion" but could we hope maybe this will get more attention and maybe that will shame some DA into bringing a criminal case against Cosby and he can be put away. Unlikely but I'll choose to hope. It would be a small step toward the world making slightly more sense.
posted by cirhosis at 1:37 PM on October 21, 2014


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: So, naturally, people tend to extend a bit more credit to the famous person than to the victim, because, well, it does happen that Celebrity attracts the crazies.

But do you really think that's the reason "people tend to extend a bit more credit to the famous person"? Nothing to do with them being famous? (Or powerful?) If I posted a euology thread here tomorrow about my mom, it would get (politely) deleted. If Abe Vigoda dies, there will be a eulogy thread with 3K dots by end of day.

and I noticed that you switched your comparisons from 'famous person':'not-famous person' to 'famous person':'victim'.
posted by lodurr at 1:42 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hermione Granger: “Ask for immediate justice.”

josher71: “I'm not sure what this means, exactly. Can you elaborate?”

Just a shot in the dark here, but given the context "justice" here probably means "a world where people aren't assaulted repeatedly for the crime of having experienced assault, where allegations of rape are treated, investigated, and litigated seriously, where rape is not a crime from which one can expect to get off lightly, and where reporting rape is not a pointless waste of time for women who are presently better off just keeping their mouths shut."

I don't want to speak for Hermione Granger, but that is my guess.
posted by koeselitz at 1:42 PM on October 21, 2014 [21 favorites]


cirhosis, i don't like it either, but we always need backup systems, and right now the de facto backup system for failed justice in America is the court of public opinion.
posted by lodurr at 1:43 PM on October 21, 2014


Thank you koeselitz, you articulated that better than I ever could.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:43 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


So, naturally, people tend to extend a bit more credit to the famous person than to the victim, because, well, it does happen that Celebrity attracts the crazies.

I don't think celebrities have to deal with THAT many people with mental issues where it would be enough for people to go "As we all know, celebrities have to deal with lots of people with mental issues. It must be tough to be a celebrity who encounters so many people with mental issues, so when celebrities are accused of crimes, let's just all remember how many people with mental issues they deal with all the time and just believe that the celebrity is innocent."

I think people's mental dialogue is closer to "Wait, Bill Cosby has a history of drugging and raping women? I can't deal with that image, so I'm going to either convince myself it isn't true or just hope that I end up forgetting it, because I can't deal with this information."
posted by 23skidoo at 1:49 PM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


It is hard information to deal with. We build up stories in our minds for famous people based solely on the roles they play and completely ignore that they have private lives that may be in total contrast to their public personae.

But you know what? Sometimes you have to deal with it. This is one of those times.
posted by tommasz at 1:59 PM on October 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: Your examples of 'weird people' and celebrities didn't include any false accusations by purported victims. If you were trying to demonstrate that there is a history of false accusations against celebrities by people pretending to be victims, you did an incredibly poor job.

And weirdly, the one example of a celebrity stalker you decided to pick was that of a woman stalking a man (it happens, but it isn't exactly the norm).

I think your comment reflected more upon yourself than it did to highlight any phenomenon in the outside world (there might be actual examples of false accusations against celebrities, but that's not at all what you showed us).
posted by el io at 2:00 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


If these allegations are true then Cosby is a frighteningly twisted monster of the worst degree, that said I am really surprised at the amount of "sexual crimes do not require proof" going on here, is there a list of crimes where proof of offence is not required?

If you feel that people do not make up sexual assault allegations for a huge variety of reasons, including their own sick amusement, then you don't read much, and certainly don't hang out with any high school teachers.
posted by Cosine at 2:02 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


"if Miles Davis was a detestable human being, I would still listen to Bitches Brew regularly."

If? Miles Davis was both the greatest trumpet player of the 20th century and a pretty terrible human being. (Pablo Picasso was also an asshole).
posted by klangklangston at 2:03 PM on October 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


But do you really think that's the reason "people tend to extend a bit more credit to the famous person"?

I guess I should have been more clear - but, no, not The Reason. There can exist many reasons. But I'm sure it factors in. Also, people tend to feel like they "know" Famous Person and people tend to trust people they (think they) know over people they don't.

Point is, a person doesn't need to go to Misogyny to find a rationale for finding Famous Person more credible than Accuser Person - although, yes, I agree, a person certainly can do that, and I am certain it happens often.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:03 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thing I found particularly chilling about he NFL spouses thread is that the authorities may indeed believe the victim, and still not care.
posted by el io at 2:06 PM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


Cosine: I am really surprised at the amount of "sexual crimes do not require proof" going on here...

I don't think we have to see it that way. I think a lot of sexual assault victims would be perfectly happy with just having their accusations taken as seriously as shoplifting claims.
posted by lodurr at 2:09 PM on October 21, 2014 [29 favorites]


If you feel that people do not make up sexual assault allegations for a huge variety of reasons, including their own sick amusement, then you don't read much, and certainly don't hang out with any high school teachers.

And in this specific instance it's the repetition and strong similarity between victims that have a huge bearing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:10 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


pogo_fuzzybutt: a person doesn't need to go to Misogyny to find a rationale for finding Famous Person more credible than Accuser Person

Then let's not go to misogyny -- let's take note of the fact that famous and powerful people, not to mention men, are notably more likely to be given the benefit of the doubt when they're accused, than are people who are less powerful. E.g., not-famous people, not-powerful people, and women.
posted by lodurr at 2:11 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am really surprised at the amount of "sexual crimes do not require proof" going on here, is there a list of crimes where proof of offence is not required?

If you feel that people do not make up sexual assault allegations for a huge variety of reasons, including their own sick amusement, then you don't read much, and certainly don't hang out with any high school teachers.


No one said any of this.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:12 PM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


(But I repeated myself.)
posted by lodurr at 2:12 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


That being said, it is far more likely for a true accusation when a sexual assault is committed to be discarded by law enforcement or a court of law even with evidence than it is for someone to make a false accusation. This, unsurprisingly, has been mentioned repeatedly throughout the thread (for example, DrMew's statistics upthread).
posted by zombieflanders at 2:16 PM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am really surprised at the amount of "sexual crimes do not require proof" going on here, is there a list of crimes where proof of offence is not required?

If you feel that people do not make up sexual assault allegations for a huge variety of reasons, including their own sick amusement, then you don't read much, and certainly don't hang out with any high school teachers.

No one said any of this.


Well, yes, they did.

I live for the day (not in a pleasant way) that we have a thread about multiple accusations of sexual assault without the "where's the proof?" comment EVER showing up. The proof is that WHEN MULTIPLE PEOPLE CLAIM THEY WERE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED, YOU FUCKING BELIEVE THEM.

argh. women don't make up rape accusations for fun. i don't understand why people even think they would. happens about as often as voter fraud probably. and as someone pointed out, a man is more likely to be hit by a COMET than be falsely accused.
posted by kafziel at 2:18 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


zombieflanders: "All of you asking for proof? You are one of the reasons why rapes and sexual assault go unchecked and unpunished. Don't ask for proof." seems to be saying "sexual crimes do not require proof."

Rape is evil, and rape allegations should be taken seriously, but "innocent until proven guilty" still applies.
posted by JDHarper at 2:19 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Being cynical, I also thought, briefly, that I could probably find 13 people who'd testify that the ghost of John Kennedy molested them if there was a potential paycheck in it. Rape is far too common, but lying for personal gain is even more frequent.

But this comment:

If Cosby's wealth made him a target for sexual abuse accusations, then the accusers were doing it wrong, as the statute of limitations on all their charges had expired.
posted by 23skidoo

and this one:

I mean, if thirteen people came forward and gave detailed accounts of how someone swindled them out of their life savings, I doubt you'd have many people wondering if the accusers just made up their stories.
posted by turaho


did much more to point out my mistake to me than did comments attributing such thoughts to misogyny or callousness.
posted by tyllwin at 2:20 PM on October 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


(Pablo Picasso was also an asshole).

yeah but no one ever called him one

posted by COBRA! at 2:21 PM on October 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


In this particular instance, evidence seems to suggest that most/all of these accusations have merit.

However, I am a bit curious about how often A-list celebrities have crazy accusations thrown at them. Bill Cosby has had a very long career, and A-list celebrities seem to have a habit of appearing in the hallucinations and delusions of the mentally-ill.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if a person as famous as Cosby has had dozens of provably-false accusations thrown at him over the course of his career.

I'm a bit curious about how often this actually happens, how the authorities deal with it, and how celebrities deal with it themselves.

(And, again. For reasons outlined by others in this thread, Cosby's looking pretty guilty here. However, I think that it's fair game to assume that celebrities are almost certainly more likely to be faced with false accusations. That would also help to explain why it's traditionally been so difficult to identify/convict the ones who are actually evil.)
posted by schmod at 2:22 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Every fall (after they read a particular article), my wife does an informal show-of-hands poll of her students on that frequency of false reporting. She finds that male students tend to believe that about 80% of sexual assault claims are false, versus an estimated high of about 1.5%.

Men just have no concept of the stakes, by and large, or the psychic and real cost of filing the claim. For many assault victims, it's like prolonging and repeating the assault.
posted by lodurr at 2:22 PM on October 21, 2014 [48 favorites]


Rape is evil, and rape allegations should be taken seriously, but "innocent until proven guilty" still applies.

How many times in rape threads to we have to restate that this is a legal definition of whether someone can be found guilty in a court of law, not whether we're allowed to believe rape victims.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:22 PM on October 21, 2014 [56 favorites]


I think it's possible to recognize and admit that the evidence against Bill Cosby is largely circumstantial, while still being persuaded by it and convinced he's guilty.

I am really not a fan of this recent meme that if your reaction to someone's claim of being raped is anything other than blind acceptance, you are accusing them of a crime and thus blaming the victim.
posted by kafziel at 2:22 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I for one would love it if people in this thread could stop comparing a string of rape accusations (that all sound exactly alike and involve the same perpetrator) to delusional people accusing ghosts of raping them. That's deeply offensive and I'm surprised to see absolute bullshit like that being tolerated here.
posted by palomar at 2:23 PM on October 21, 2014 [29 favorites]


And thanks, thread, for convincing me that if I'm ever raped, the absolute BEST thing I can do is keep my mouth shut.
posted by palomar at 2:24 PM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


Rape is far too common, but lying for personal gain is even more frequent.

Lying about rape for personal gain, however, isn't.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:24 PM on October 21, 2014 [43 favorites]


Cirhossis, my father is a well known and possibly powerful man in his community sexually abused me for 8 years. Note I'm an adult and15 to 20 years later the statutes of limitations has passed for all but the most violent events which I'll never be able to prove anyway.

But my costs. .. I think I've hit 350,000 in therapy costs. I spend 90 out of pocket per week with insurance. Without it would be around 400 per week. It isn't over for me. Civil courts have a lower barrier to finding the defendant responsible. He wouldn't get prison time but my costs for dealing with it are super high. And even going through 2000 a month in therapeutic services and medications it is not worth it to me to pursue because I cannot handle the emotional costs.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:25 PM on October 21, 2014 [32 favorites]


Seriously, if you're going to lie for personal gain, a rape accusation is a really counter-productvie way to go about it.
posted by lodurr at 2:26 PM on October 21, 2014 [14 favorites]


Like, ok. I can get people thinking "hmm, could these people maybe be making it up," but then when you take two seconds to look at the history of rape accusations, what you see is that EVERY SINGLE TIME a man is accused of being a rapist, people do this. Every time. Every godforsaken time. Do you people think rape ever actually happens?
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:28 PM on October 21, 2014 [46 favorites]


I'll admit it, I used to do that, too. what convinced me to try to change my reaction is paying attention to the phenomenon showbiz_liz is pointing out: every time someone says they were raped, the general assumption is they're faking the claim for gain.

Paradoxically, we might have LESS problem from the small amount of false reporting we do get, if we took rape claims as seriously as we do other criminal claims. If we did that, they'd get investigated. If there were a reliable chance of getting investigated, we'd be having a totally different conversation.
posted by lodurr at 2:31 PM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


I had a bit of screed started, but showbiz_liz and others have said what I was going to, and probably better, too. And yes, the chances of someone making a false rape accusation are infinitesimal compared to the amount of times a true one will be discarded by law enforcement or the judicial system regardless of evidence, or when the evidence is actually discarded, or when someone chooses not to report it for the bajillion pressures put on them.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:32 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of men have a fear of being falsely accused of rape - this is perhaps what motivates their constant drumbeat of this possibility.

Something worth considering - men are more likely to be raped than to be falsely accused of rape. (some statistics).

So, if you are afraid, as a man, of being falsely accused of being raped, perhaps you should switch up your fear a bit to being afraid of being raped. After you've done that, take a look at the chances of you being raped vs. a woman being raped (some statistics).

Then, after you've switched up you fear from the false accusation of rape to being raped, imagine that people will assume you are lying and that this is a near nil chance that your rapist will see justice. After that, imagine if your rapist is famous and rich and has unlimited resources to defend themselves.
posted by el io at 2:37 PM on October 21, 2014 [43 favorites]


I understand that concern trolling is a huge problem, but I don't understand why we should automatically suspend critical thinking. In this case, examining the pattern and circumstance of the accusations makes them more damning.

(Also, if you find something that I say to be offensive, please quote me directly so that I can better understand why my words/views are hurtful. I think that a lot of people in this thread are misconstruing what others are saying, and it's hard for me to become a better or more enlightened person without understanding why some of us are finding certain comments to be offensive (unless you're talking about a deleted comment).)
posted by schmod at 2:38 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also the many times people retract real claims because of the emotional toll of Court costs are real. Or because of public discussion like in this thread. Or because of lost friends. Some people who are identified as lairs would rather deal with that than fight to prove their accusations as real.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:38 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's not like the court of public opinion is any less lenient to rapists and abusers than the actual courts.

I know of a minor internet celebrity, an apparently good natured, well-liked, extremely funny jokewriter, who turned out to be a serial abuser and rapist. As far as I know, no one went to the police, but enough people came forward, publicly and anonymously, that the jokewriter should at least have been disgraced among the people who knew him online. He wasn't even apologetic, or even serious, when he responded to the accusations.

Well, a lot of people cut him off, but a lot of people stuck by him, and he remains popular, just as Bill Cosby, who has an even clearer pattern of evil behavior over a longer period of time, has preserved his clean reputation. I think there's good reason to fear that Cosby will be remembered as a delightful comedian whose TV show in the 80s was deeply influential.

So much for the dreaded court of public opinion.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:40 PM on October 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


I don't think many men have a fear of being falsely accused of rape; I think many men have a fear of having to come to terms with how some of their sexual behavior could be considered rape and therefore wrong and bad. This is why IMO and IME rape culture exists: to assuage the fears of men who rape so that rape is normal, good, and okay.

My two rapists both believe that what they did to me was fundamentally acceptable and okay. They will never believe otherwise, and when I tried to tell them that they had hurt me, they got upset and raged at me for making them feel like they'd done something wrong. They couldn't handle the prospect of guilt or seeing themselves for who they really were and ultimately still are. My understanding is that this is common.

I think that's why people sometimes have a hard time accepting the reality that a celebrity they like is not a good person. Disassociating their work from their behavior is somehow inexorably difficult. We do not like to feel bad about liking someone we've long admired. I am totally conflicted and upset everytime I hear a Michael Jackson song. I love his music, I am aghast at the sexual and emotional abuse he suffered throughout his life, but I am also disgusted that his predatory side was allowed to flourish just because of his positive contributions to society. It's all very Ursula K. LeGuin, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas", isn't it? So long as it isn't us, so long as it isn't our family (or even when it is), we've been conditioned to pardon rapists no matter how grievous their crime.
posted by Hermione Granger at 2:48 PM on October 21, 2014 [36 favorites]


As for the absurd implication that we should only enjoy the work of artists who are also "acceptable" to society and perceived as, simply, well.. "nice" people, I'll take a thousand Richard Wagners, Woody Allens, R. Kellies and Bill Cosbies over one single Miranda July any day of the god damn week.
posted by ReeMonster at 2:56 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I will say that people are being awfully terrible with their use of statistics, especially with regard to "false allegations." "False allegations" are incredibly hard to quantify, e.g. those RAINN numbers, which presume all reports are true. Likewise, the FBI numbers cited are even more equivocal: About 8 percent of rape allegations are classified as "unfounded," which, due to definitional differences, doesn't actually mean false — for example, some jurisdictions require evidence of violence or physical evidence of resistance. In those cases, a rape can be real and still "unfounded," meaning that the overall rate the FBI gives of 8 percent of rape allegations as unfounded is unreliable. This helps explain why rape alone has a statistically significant deviation from unfounded allegations in other crimes, with the overall number of false accusations being estimated at 2 percent.

So, to go back to the lightning thing, first that was the chance of being accused of rape — incredibly rare. While there were no numbers that I could find that were specifically about accusations (reporting a rape doesn't necessarily mean accusing a particular person), what I did was take the 74 percent of rapes that are reported where the victim allegedly knew the perpetrator (.74 x 92720), then divide that by the male population of the US (138053563), then multiply it by the 2 percent that can be reasonably assumed as false (in line with other rates of misreported crime) to get a 0.00000994002596 chance, or 1 in 10,060,335.

But with Cosby, he hasn't just been accused once. He's been accused 13 times. If we treat those as independent events, the probability that he hasn't been guilty once is essentially zero.

There are a lot of assumptions within that math (and I may have fucked up the calculations), but given the number of independent accusations, it's startlingly unlikely that he hasn't raped a woman.
posted by klangklangston at 2:57 PM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm impressed Hannibal feels confident enough in his career to call out someone of Cosby's stature.

The golden rule in self-promotional PR: punch up. Oscar Wilde understood this.

Wonder if HB heard the interview with the Cosby biographer that aired on KCRW last week. It was as combative as I've ever heard Kim Masters.
posted by wensink at 2:58 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


no one is telling others what art to enjoy - they are saying they will personally have difficulty enjoying certain entertainers outputs. if that makes you feel a certain kind of way, that's on you.
posted by nadawi at 3:02 PM on October 21, 2014 [16 favorites]


As for the absurd implication that we should only enjoy the work of artists who are also "acceptable" to society and perceived as, simply, well.. "nice" people

No one in this thread is implying that, though.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:02 PM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


Pablo Picasso was also an asshole.

Jonathan Richman would disagree.
posted by wensink at 3:04 PM on October 21, 2014


ReeMonster, you're the only person in this thread that's said anything like that. Enjoy all the art you want from whoever. I don't know you and don't want to know you, so it's no skin off my back.
posted by palomar at 3:05 PM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


But with Cosby, he hasn't just been accused once. He's been accused 13 times. If we treat those as independent events, the probability that he hasn't been guilty once is essentially zero

Yeah, I had actually heard that he was a creepy guy before today, but i thought it was in an office harassment/looking at boobs instead of face while a woman is talking way, not all those allegations. That's not to say I couldn't have looked it up, I can be honest about the fact that I didn't bother or think about it much.
posted by sweetkid at 3:11 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


If Abe Vigoda dies, there will be a eulogy thread with 3K dots by end of day.

It is phrased here as "if" rather than "when" because "when" implies certainty.
posted by delfin at 3:12 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'll take a thousand Richard Wagners, Woody Allens, R. Kellies and Bill Cosbies over one single Miranda July

Gee, you notice anything about the genders of your examples?
posted by RogerB at 3:17 PM on October 21, 2014 [32 favorites]


but "innocent until proven guilty" still applies

Nobody as far as I can see in this thread is saying Bill Cosby should go to jail right now because of the accusations without a trial and conviction. That wouldn't make sense, because they are a) still just accusations, b) civil accusations and people don't get convicted of civil accusations. Should there be criminal charges, he will undoubtedly go through that process under the doctrine of innocent until proven guilty. Nobody wants him to go to jail if it cannot be fairly and reasonably prosecuted.

But "innocent until proven guilty" does not obligate anyone to ignore available information. It's not "not a piece of shit until proven guilty."

There are a bunch of women who say they were sexually assaulted, and we know - from sources such as the FBI - that the likelihood of the ASSAULT ITSELF being fake is extremely, incredibly low so it is very highly likely that they were assaulted.

They say they were alone with Bill Cosby when it happened, or for some of them at least he was the only one there when they woke up after losing consciousness after accepting what they thought was headache medicine from him.

At that point, I am comfortable in my assessment that he is a piece of shit. My feelings about this are bolstered by my recollection that a number of these women worked with him at least on a short-term project basis and liked him and so were additionally kind of baffled, like "why would my friendly-acquaintance do that to me? How is that even a thing?"

My rush to this conclusion might be a bigger problem if there was not a significant power-differential between me and Bill Cosby, if he worked for me or I had a say in his educational progress. I don't want him to go to jail based on my opinion, though I do wish that things had gone the criminal route because that's a better road to travel, if it has to be traveled at all, and then with any luck he could have been convicted of a crime.

And for everyone crying about proof, right there you are negating each woman's claim that she was assaulted. If I get a death threat, I don't have to prove it's deathly enough to be a crime. If my wallet is gone out of my purse, I don't have to prove I didn't just lose it (maybe I did! but I'm allowed to report it stolen anyway) before I can report it stolen.

Proof is required to convict, and is normally obtained by investigators after a report of a crime. Proof should not required to accuse. That we do that for sexual assault says that accusers shouldn't be taken seriously, but we've quoted the numbers over and over again, there's no reason NOT to trust them. He doesn't have to go to jail just because they can be trusted, we can use the legal system exactly the same way we do for other crimes, but we can also think that someone who's had a lot of people willing to speak up about his behavior is a badly-behaved person.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:19 PM on October 21, 2014 [33 favorites]


Gee, you notice anything about the genders of your examples?

I was just listing the few names that immediately came to mind of artists/entertainers who many people discredit for actions outside of their art/entertainment, that's all.
posted by ReeMonster at 3:21 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


but "innocent until proven guilty" still applies

In a courtroom. Which this is not.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:22 PM on October 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


If I get a death threat, I don't have to prove it's deathly enough to be a crime. If my wallet is gone out of my purse, I don't have to prove I didn't just lose it (maybe I did! but I'm allowed to report it stolen anyway) before I can report it stolen.

Yes yes yes. And furthermore, if I heard someone accuse someone of death threats or theft, and my response was to assume they were lying and say that people make jokes about killing people all the time and they probably just misinterpreted it, or that it's way more likely that they lost their wallet than that they had it stolen, I would be the asshole.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:35 PM on October 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


All these arguments about how innocent until proven guilty does not apply to the court of public opinion is part of why I dislike it so much. Why the hell doesn't it. Yes I totally agree that you are free to feel that Cosby is a piece of shit based on what you've heard. But lots of people seem to want that to be the end. That is not in any way helpful. He hasn't been punished in any real way... his accusors haven't been helped in any particular way. But also he hasn't really had much of a chance to defend himself.... (again not that in this case there seems to be much he could do)... your (generic you here) "innocent until proven guilty" doesn't allow for there to be any chance that he doesn't have a possible defense.

I'm also astounded at the lack of empathy shown along the lines of jumping on and killing any possibility that men might fear false accusations of rape. I've been falsely accused, I know two other men who have, I know one teacher who is in constant fear of ever being in a place alone with a female student because of this... while the last one is probably unhealthy and something I think he needs to deal with ... it's a very real thing. And someone on metafilter saying it basically never really happens is pretty much BS.

There is false dillema here... I can occasionally feel sympathy for a man (or woman) that might have falsely been accused of rape without automatically dismissing the accusor. And you bet that 13+ accusors are persuasive and there is very little or realistically no room for sympathy for Cosby here.
posted by cirhosis at 3:45 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I want "Pudding Rapist" to make into the yearly list of popular terms. Holy shit that's funny.
posted by Renoroc at 3:46 PM on October 21, 2014


versus an estimated high of about 1.5%.

The very next sentence is "However, others say eight percent or more of rape accusations are false, and as a scientific matter the answer remains unknown.[1]" so it seems weird to elide that particularly since it doesn't really change the main point which is that accusations of rape are way less of a fraction of the total than people estimate.
posted by Justinian at 3:49 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'll take a thousand Richard Wagners, Woody Allens, R. Kellies and Bill Cosbies over one single Miranda July

I'll be honest, I haven't the slightest idea who Miranda July is but a quick Google search reveals nothing as controversial as, oh I don't know, pissing on a nude 14 year old girl. Sure she appears to be a pretentious Silver Lake hipster performance artist but there has to more to it than that.
posted by MikeMc at 3:51 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


All these arguments about how innocent until proven guilty does not apply to the court of public opinion is part of why I dislike it so much. Why the hell doesn't it.

Because it is a legal construct designed to prevent the power of the state from being used to bludgeon someone who has not been proven guilty of a crime. We don't wield the power of the state. So we're free to decide Cosby is likely guilty. Or, hell, we're free to decide he is likely innocent. Although I dunno how one would get to that position given the available evidence.

"Innocent until proven guilty" is not supposed to be a shield against interpersonal sanction.
posted by Justinian at 3:52 PM on October 21, 2014 [16 favorites]


I'm not familiar with Buress' comedy--I'm not a follower of standup comedy--but I'm not at all sorry to hear that he's picked up Cosby's behavior and made it a piece of his humor. As long as Cosby's public image continues to center around pudding and "dad in a sweater" and "pull up your pants", it's going to be hard for people--even people who make a conscious effort to work against rape culture--to integrate their awareness of Cosby's rapey behavior with their existing image of him. That pre-existing image works strongly in Cosby's favor; it's people like Buress who will help undermine it by reinforcing a different narrative.

I'm also astounded at the lack of empathy shown along the lines of jumping on and killing any possibility that men might fear false accusations of rape.

I understand that men feel that way and yeah, it's sad. Not as sad to me by orders of magnitude as women's fear of rape and particularly of dealing with the aftermath of it.
posted by immlass at 3:52 PM on October 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


AlexiaSky: my father is a well known and possibly powerful man in his community sexually abused me for 8 years. Note I'm an adult and15 to 20 years later the statutes of limitations has passed for all but the most violent events which I'll never be able to prove anyway.

But my costs. ..


I know I can't possibly understand anything you've gone through, as a fellow human I can hope for your future.

I agree that your case does show the value of a civil trial... Certainly in your case. But I still feel that Civil trials and public opinion are not the right venue for the majority... at least not on their own. Please don't feel like I'm in any way attacking you or anyone else that has resorted to a civil trial for what justice they can get. The current system is very very broken. I really feel that the criminal courts need to do a better job of protecting victims, punishing the guilty and making that happen in a realistic time (or as realistic as possible) And yes this also means that once the accused is punished that isn't the end... those who were hurt need society's help to recover as well.
posted by cirhosis at 3:54 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm also astounded at the lack of empathy shown along the lines of jumping on and killing any possibility that men might fear false accusations of rape.

Saying that it's far less likely =/= there is no possibility.

And someone on metafilter saying it basically never really happens is pretty much BS.

Again, saying that it's a much much smaller risk is not the same as it never really happens. It sucks that it has happened to you, but that doesn't make into an epidemic.

The very next sentence is "However, others say eight percent or more of rape accusations are false, and as a scientific matter the answer remains unknown.[1]"

The 1.5% is where an attacker is identified. The other 6.5% are from accusations where it is a description that leads to no suspects.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:54 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]




immlass: Definitely no comparison on magnitude. I agree 100% there. I just don't agree with dismissing it out of hand. Both sides are hurt in this broken culture... But yes it's women who disproportionally suffer.
posted by cirhosis at 3:57 PM on October 21, 2014


But I still feel that Civil trials and public opinion are not the right venue for the majority... at least not on their own.

The accusations against Cosby have been kicking around for a decade or so in the Court of Public Opinion and this seems to be doing him so little harm that not a few people are like "wait, WHAT? WHO?!"
posted by rtha at 3:59 PM on October 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


And someone on metafilter saying it basically never really happens is pretty much BS.

The statistic cited upthread is that approximately 1.5-8% of reported sexual assaults are false. Dr. David Lisak, also cited elsewhere here, suggests that in one study it was 5.9%.

I could go on but really it would just be easier for you to read the article and follow the citations. False allegations of rape--that is allegations which have gotten to the level of police investigation--seem to be pretty damn rare, proportionally speaking. The fear of being falsely accused--that is, again, accused to the point where police actually investigate and look for evidence--is about as silly as Stranger Danger. That it has happened to you I am not calling into question, but it is in fact many, many more times likely that someone you know--or many someones--has committed rape and gotten away with it.

One might also wish to consider, given the extremely low prevalence of false rape allegations, how many actual rapes must be reported for that number to include you and two of your friends.

Which is kind of a much bigger problem than "but but but but think about the guys who have been falsely accused!"

But I still feel that Civil trials and public opinion are not the right venue for the majority... at least not on their own.

Unfortunately, they are. Again, statistics cited upthread, this time by DrMew: of 100 rapes committed, 3 land the perpetrator in jail. Less than half are reported to police. If what you are saying is that culture needs to change, I'm right behind you. But the reality is that culture exists now. The criminal justice system is outright hostile to rape victims. They are often apportioned some of the blame--which, by the by, drives me round the twist; the only person whose fault it is where anyone sticks their penis is them.

With that reality in place, women must seek the redress they can reasonably and safely try to get. And they still get blamed, anyway.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:01 PM on October 21, 2014 [15 favorites]


The accusations against Cosby have been kicking around for a decade

Agreed... this is also a problem with the Court of Public Opinion... it can be incredibly destructive and it can be totally ineffective... and it can destroy someone and then forget about him a month later.
posted by cirhosis at 4:03 PM on October 21, 2014


Shitbag MRA site Return of Kings calls Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors "The Ultimate Red Pill Movie" - reason enough to never watch any of his movies ever again.
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on October 21, 2014


I'm going to step out of this conversation...

I feel like I've become the lone Guy who is arguing against a group of Women about why they are wrong on Rape... I'm really not trying to do that.

I agree that anything Women can do in this fucked up world to get any justice they can is the right way to do things right now. I really do just want to help. I want things to be different and I'm happy to help things get better in any way I can.
posted by cirhosis at 4:08 PM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


of 100 rapes committed, 3 land the perpetrator in jail. Less than half are reported to police.

Honest question, who are the other half reporting to? Doctors?
posted by Cosine at 4:09 PM on October 21, 2014


Honest question, who are the other half reporting to?

For the most part, surveys done after the fact about experiences with sexual assault. I don't know where that particular 100 number comes from, but that's how that data is usually obtained.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:11 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I would follow the citations given here upthread by DrMew. FWIW, those numbers come from the FBI and the DoJ.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:12 PM on October 21, 2014


ReeMonster: As for the absurd implication that we should only enjoy the work of artists who are also "acceptable" to society and perceived as, simply, well.. "nice" people.....

Oh, christ, not that straw man again...
posted by lodurr at 4:18 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


According to the DrMew link 20% of reported rapes lead to prosecution, the average for all criminal reports in the US is 2%.

That is not to say there aren't issues, just that facts don't exist in a vacuum.
posted by Cosine at 4:19 PM on October 21, 2014


When only 25% lead to an arrest--which in itself only accounts for 10% of rapes committed--that isn't such a great number.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:23 PM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Agreed... this is also a problem with the Court of Public Opinion... it can be incredibly destructive and it can be totally ineffective... and it can destroy someone and then forget about him a month later.

Hard to call that "destroyed", then.
posted by Lexica at 4:40 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


just that facts don't exist in a vacuum

What does that mean? That someone got a number wrong therefore the entire argument is invalid? Are you declaring women fully well-served because the best-guess numbers (I haven't taken a survey about how many sexual assaults I've not reported since college, and that's 20 years of living ago) say that the results are just crappy instead of terrible?

What point is it that you're scoring with a comment like that?
posted by Lyn Never at 4:46 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Where did I say the numbers were wrong or crappy?

I am saying that before you say "10% is an awful number!" it is your duty to first say to yourself "10% is an awful number! I should do a little research however and see how that compares to all other crime". Once you learn that that is 5x better than the prosecution rate for all other crime you should perhaps adjust your thinking a bit.

I'm bowing out now too, should have a while back, there is really no room for any counterpoint to this anymore, one little "hey just a minute" and you support rape.
posted by Cosine at 4:56 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


No, I don't think any adjustment in thinking on that is necessary, and feckless has a comment just above that shows why.
posted by agregoli at 5:00 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Once you learn that that is 5x better than the prosecution rate for all other crime you should perhaps adjust your thinking a bit.

I really don't understand where you're coming from with this. If you're saying that other crimes should be prosecuted more, sure. If you're saying that we shouldn't have problems with these numbers because they're better than the average prosecution rate, that just seems... odd to say the least. I would be curious to know what the relative percentages of people taking a plea deal in sexual assault cases versus straight up assault, e.g., would be. I'd take a wild--not being sarcastic, it is a wild guess--guess that fewer sexual assault cases result in pleas because they're less likely to result in conviction or jail time.

Also if you're going to say it's a 5x better prosecution rate, fine. How do the conviction rates compare? And incarceration rates?

I'm bowing out now too, should have a while back, there is really no room for any counterpoint to this anymore, one little "hey just a minute" and you support rape.

This is not a thing that has happened.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:03 PM on October 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


If your response to seeing rape stats that show just how few cases ever see justice is to argue that it's not that bad or it could be much worse, you need perspective and an adjustment of your thought process far more urgently than I do.
posted by palomar at 5:03 PM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


As a bit of a, perhaps needed, derail.

The thing that has always always always confused me about Cosby is that he *landed* the Cosby show as a direct result of a successful tour/movie that included a significant number of sketches about drug use and alcoholism.

More importantly, the bit that got the most laughs, and the bit that was repeated nearly verbatim in the first episode of the Cosby show was about child abuse.

It was directly describing his wife beating his children with a ruler.

But, you know, it's a strong wholesome show about good family values.
posted by jefflowrey at 5:16 PM on October 21, 2014


See also Bob Saget and Full House. (Though I'm not aware of Saget victimizing people, which would be an important difference.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:19 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


feckless, there have been... allegations.
posted by delfin at 5:25 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


It was directly describing his wife beating his children with a ruler.

When the Cosby Show was on the air, in my high school (and middle school) we could still get "pops" in school for disciplinary infractions.

With a paddle.

On the other topic, I guess if we started underreporting rape even more, we'd get even better prosecution rates! So...rape solved, we can all go home now.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:35 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


OK, for comparison, using 2009-11 data again, let's look at aggravated assault (basically, assault with intent to cause serious bodily harm, generally with a weapon). Of 100 aggravated assaults:

67 will be reported to the police
38 result in arrest
Using Federal statistics as a proxy, 27plead guilty and 10 go to trial
Again using Federal justice data, of the 10 that go to trial, 8 result in guilty verdicts

If you look at all crime, the clearance and conviction rates are lower, because so many of the crimes reported consist of things like cellphone thefts--rarely investigated, let alone solved. But comparing rape statistics to aggravated assault, you see a perpetrator being caught and found guilty 4% of the time in rape cases, and 35% of the time in aggravated assaults. That's a glaring difference.
posted by DrMew at 5:40 PM on October 21, 2014 [38 favorites]


Jeff I the 80s my elementrary school used paddles and parents had to sign if they wanted the school to use corporal punishment or not. Spanking want even an actual debate yet.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:48 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


palomar I love it when we trash media outlets for not being clean enough... let's not forget that that "redoubt of journalism", the National Enquirer, broke the story on John Edwards's affair and love child and won a damn Pulitzer for it. But please, be snotty about it.

Wow, surprising no one has corrected the record yet. The National Enquirer has never won a Pulitzer.
posted by mlis at 6:53 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, I made a mistake. Thanks for catching it.
posted by palomar at 6:57 PM on October 21, 2014


There was a nasty anecdote about Cosby a few years ago, sketchily remembered as
a production shoot on location in New York city (ad? movie? tv?) suffering a flash thunder
storm sending those involved scurrying for cover. A young female production assistant
hectically ran by Cosby's limo, and he graciously indicated for her to climb in. They chatted
briefly and Cosby supposedly said out of the blue "How does it feel to be sitting next to
someone who makes more in a week than you will in your entire life?"

Not rape, certainly, but, if true, contemptuous and punching down.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:11 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


what I did was take the 74 percent of rapes that are reported where the victim allegedly knew the perpetrator (.74 x 92720), then divide that by the male population of the US (138053563), then multiply it by the 2 percent that can be reasonably assumed as false (in line with other rates of misreported crime) to get a 0.00000994002596 chance, or 1 in 10,060,335.

But with Cosby, he hasn't just been accused once. He's been accused 13 times. If we treat those as independent events, the probability that he hasn't been guilty once is essentially zero.

There are a lot of assumptions within that math (and I may have fucked up the calculations), but given the number of independent accusations, it's startlingly unlikely that he hasn't raped a woman.


klangklangston, this is very interesting, but there are a couple of small issues.

First off, what you are trying to calculate is not "the chance of being accused of rape," but "the chance of being falsely accused of rape." Correct?

Second, not so important, but the number for the male population you use is not current. You use the male population in the year 2000. That in itself is no big deal, but in addition to that the number you use is the full male population for that year. In other words, you're counting babies, toddlers and 80 year olds as being potential rapists. Not that 80 year olds can't rape, but do you see the problem here? Not every age cohort has an equal likelihood of being rapists or of being accused of rape. (Plus, not all men are equally likely to be falsely accused of rape. I think it's a reasonable guess that celebrities are much more likely to be falsely accused of rape than are random men. On the other hand, perhaps they might be more likely to attempt rape than regular men are.)
Even so, no big deal, this will smooth things out later on.

Let's proceed: .74 x 92720 = 68,613. According to your sources, that's the number of rapes reported where the victim knew the perp. But let's change the order of the next calculation and multiply by 2% here first, it makes more logical sense. The reason for doing this is to keep the number comprehensible to the extent possible, which always helps when you're doing BOTE calculations. Instead of getting a crazy-looking decimal fraction that's hard to check, we get 1372. This represents roughly the actual number of men who are falsely accused of rape in a given year. Okay, now ask yourself. Is 1372 equal to 1/10 millionth of the male population? No way. It's roughly 1/100000. So you're off by a factor of a hundred. (Unless I'm the one whose math is off.)

But, so what, that's an easy mistake to make, and to fix. Let's proceed. Okay, even if 1/100000 is the "right" number? Is it really right? No, because it doesn't represent your chance of being falsely accused of rape, it only represents the chance of being falsely accused of rape in a given year. Your chance of being falsely accused of rape in your lifetime (and since we're working with the entire male population, "lifetime" is an accurate range) would be about 75 times that. In other words 1/1333 or about 7 hundredths of a percent. Still really small but not vanishingly small.

As for Bill Cosby's accusations, we can't really treat them as "independent" events. We know in fact that some of the women were inspired to come forward because Constand's attorneys sought them out. So even if the rapes themselves weren't related, the accusations were.

One more thing. Buress was wrong. :) His name comes up on Google about twice as often as 'Bill Cosby rape' does.
posted by xigxag at 9:12 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't want to think of nice Cliff Huxtable, of funny Bill Cosby as a rapist. I have a lot of respect for how far he came from where he started. I have respect for his Ph.D. I can't ignore the number of very credible reports, especially knowing he can easily afford to quiet complaints with his substantial wealth. So it's another man with power going to his dick. Drugging and raping women - how seriously twisted is that, especially from a guy who presents himself as a moral authority? So, yeah, it does ruin the show, because it's not okay for him to have credibility. It's not okay for him to get away with sexual assault because he has money and power. It really does ruin the humor.
posted by theora55 at 9:27 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


xigxag: have you ever known a woman who has been raped (answer: yes - maybe you've never known a woman that has told you this, but rest assured, you have known woman who have been raped).

Have you ever known a man who has been falsely accused of rape? No? Have you had any friends who have friends that have been falsely accused of rape? (I have no friends have shared their stories of friends that have been falsely accused).

Feel free to continue your statistical analysis (I blame myself, I brought some rough wikipedia stats into this thread).

As I mentioned before (with random easily debunkable napkin math) you should be more worried about being raped as a man than being falsely accused of rape.
posted by el io at 10:41 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


lodurr: "She finds that male students tend to believe that about 80% of sexual assault claims are false, versus an estimated high of about 1.5%"

That's an estimated low, from one estimate. General numbers from the very same page you link to seem to suggest that the consensus is that somewhere between 2% and 8% of rape accusations are false, comparable to false accusations of other crimes. I'm not saying it's a huge thing or anything, but if you're going to cite a Wikipedia page, make sure it says what you think it says.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:19 AM on October 22, 2014


As I mentioned before (with random easily debunkable napkin math) you should be more worried about being raped as a man than being falsely accused of rape.

Logically, sure. But logically people over the last few weeks should have been far more afraid of driving to the store to pick up a gallon of milk than of catching Ebola and bleeding out of their eyeballs. But I know which one caused more fear.

Humans are no good at this sort of thing.
posted by Justinian at 12:28 AM on October 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's an estimated low

I originally mis-read it at ".8%".
posted by lodurr at 3:14 AM on October 22, 2014


It's interesting that instead of looking into the methodology used for estimating false rape accusations, we do back of the envelope math using spurious assumptions.
posted by lodurr at 3:15 AM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


As for Bill Cosby's accusations, we can't really treat them as "independent" events. We know in fact that some of the women were inspired to come forward because Constand's attorneys sought them out. So even if the rapes themselves weren't related, the accusations were.

I don't know if I'm more horrified by your quibbling about rape statistics or your misuse of statistics, but in any event, it absolutely does not matter statistically if Cosby's rape are independent of one another. How would it? We aren't doing any tests. So what if Cosby's rape is better modeled by a time series than a linear regression. Who gives a fuck and what is your point.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:56 AM on October 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


Logically, sure. But logically people over the last few weeks should have been far more afraid of driving to the store to pick up a gallon of milk than of catching Ebola and bleeding out of their eyeballs. But I know which one caused more fear.

Humans are no good at this sort of thing.


People are no good at guessing the likelihood of danger, therefore xigxag's welrd quibbling isn't weird? But that seems like an unfair reading. I don't get your point here.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:24 AM on October 22, 2014


Let's proceed

yes let's
posted by Greg Nog at 6:08 AM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


xigxag: “One more thing. Buress was wrong. :) His name comes up on Google about twice as often as 'Bill Cosby rape' does.”

Nope. You are wrong. :) Hannibal Buress gets 522,000 results, Bill Cosby rape gets 950,000 results. So the results are exactly the opposite of what you thought they were – Bill Cosby rape is mentioned about twice as often as Hannibal Buress' name.

It's pretty clear that you skewed the results – intentionally or unintentionally – by enclosing them in quotes. It makes sense that "Hannibal Buress" shows up more than "Bill Cosby rape" – because plenty of people use the exact phrase "Hannibal Buress," whereas hardly anybody uses the exact phrase "Bill Cosby rape," even when they're actually talking about Bill Cosby and rape, simply because "Bill Cosby rape" is not part of any grammatically correct sentence that I can think of.
posted by koeselitz at 7:06 AM on October 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also: here's a chilling thought - how do you know the two men you know were *falsely* accused?
posted by agregoli at 8:29 AM on October 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


How many times in rape threads to we have to restate that this is a legal definition of whether someone can be found guilty in a court of law, not whether we're allowed to believe rape victims.

That's fine, but everyone's allowed to believe the accused as well, if they choose to.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:31 AM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sure. But don't expect to find sympathy for that view in a forum that you know will be inhabited by a large number of rape victims.
posted by lodurr at 8:42 AM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's fine, but everyone's allowed to believe the accused as well, if they choose to.

That's true. Crying "innocent until proven guilty" as an argument for suspending belief in the accuser or for believing the accused remains unpersuasive on its own.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:50 AM on October 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


But also he hasn't really had much of a chance to defend himself...

Cosby? Bill Cosby? Are you saying he lacks access to media outlets that would print statements he might have on the subject? I would dare say the victim has had more accusations in the media (and sharp questioning by interviewers) than Cosby has. As the accusations are out there and a ton of folks already consider himself a rapist, he could take up his accusers suggestion that he take a polygraph test. It was her idea... If he did so it would certainly change a bunch of minds on the matter I would think. But instead of taking the polygraph he'd rather people assume he's a rapist.
posted by el io at 9:06 AM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


A polygraph would just introduce more noise into the issue. They're pseudoscience and trivial to beat.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:12 AM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


That's fine, but everyone's allowed to believe the accused as well, if they choose to.

Well, that's kind of the problem.

When 75 people come forward naming their assailant(s), and only one is doing so falsely, it shouldn't be odd or horrifying to assume that the next accusation us true. Or the one after that, or the one after that, etc. And yet, that's exactly what happens in pretty much any thread about sexual assault here, and no doubt in conversations around the country. I hope you can see the irony in the fact that those of us making the assumption based on those trends then get accused of being uninterested in evidence, or only caring about witch-hunts, or crying wolf.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:20 AM on October 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


First, I understand that these types of threads sometimes become infested with concern-trolls, derails and other vermin and it's fair that people will be sensitive to posts that can be interpreted as deflecting from the proper issues, so I apologize for not saying the following paragraph at the outset.

I'm not in any shape or form trying to minimize rape, or sow seeds of doubt with respect to the accuracy of rape reporting. I absolutely agree that false rape reports are incredibly rare and rape itself inadequately punished, and that it is horrific that odious celebrities are allowed to rehabilitate themselves, and that Bill Cosby comes off as a rapist, and Buress was on point for taking him down. Plenty of other comments here have said as much, much more eloquently and vehemently than me.

At the same time, I think it's important that (to the extent possible) we stay honest and self-critical and use valid arguments for advancing the fight. Because what happens when we don't is the whole cause becomes a little easier to discredit. I don't for one second think that getting the math right is MORE important than fighting rape culture, but why make it even fractionally easier for rapists and their supporters by giving them a little innumeracy "gotcha" to hang on to? The real numbers are outrageous enough that there's really no need to be sloppy with the facts.

> Who gives a fuck and what is your point.

MisantropicPainforest, what is your point? klangklangston gave a fuck, that's who. He thought enough of the issue to do some math on it, and nobody expressed a problem with that. I didn't have a problem with it either. I thought it was interesting enough to actually look over his numbers, and it so happened that he was off by a factor of 100, plus some other small issues. That's all. Why do you have a problem with me pointing that out? To be honest there's a lot of dubious statistical assertions on this thread (more likely to be hit by a comet then falsely accused of rape) that are getting bounced around without the slightest critical eye. That's okay, people don't necessarily need to be critical of everything, but I like to check and verify sources when it comes to things I care about.

>As I mentioned before (with random easily debunkable napkin math) you should be more worried about being raped as a man than being falsely accused of rape.

I agree with that, but, at the same time, my chances of being a rapist, that's the one I'm mostly worried about.
posted by xigxag at 9:54 AM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Who gives a fuck and what is your point.

This is a lot of outrage over someone else wanting to think about numbers.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:08 AM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


why make it even fractionally easier for rapists and their supporters by giving them a little innumeracy "gotcha" to hang on to?

This is why it's important to take care that your larger rhetorical point is clear: The little innumeracy "gotcha" is what it looked like you were doing.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:18 AM on October 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't for one second think that getting the math right is MORE important than fighting rape culture, but why make it even fractionally easier for rapists and their supporters by giving them a little innumeracy "gotcha" to hang on to?

I disagree with your notion that getting the math right makes it easier for rapists and rape-deniers to "gotcha" anyone with anything. It's not like you crunched the numbers and discovered that the odds of being accused of rape were 1/3 or something. Once numbers get really big, people just lump them all together. Quibbling about the math in a Buzzfeed article (everyone knows that Buzzfeed kind of sucks about anything involving math/science/accuracy, right?) isn't helping people better stomp out ignorance about rape; it's just pissing people off who think you care more about numbers than people.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:23 AM on October 22, 2014


Rapists are going to court claiming they're not guilty because Source A says 20% of rape accusations are false and Source B says 8%? I've never seen any reports of innumeracy gotchas being used as a defense.

The defense is pretty much one of two things:
- couldn't have been at that place at that time
- how much did she deserve it

When people are trying to talk about real-world rape and you have the Actuwerally... brigade showing up to quibble over math derived from incredibly crap data because we don't actually know how many people get raped because they don't report it because they don't want to be treated like liars and sluts and less important than the precious future of the man accused, the math you are doing is the math of how much she deserves it. This is literally the Nuh Uh Chorus - "well, you said it X number and it was actually Y-slightly-less-horrifying number, so obviously it's mostly lies and you are lying and let's talk about anything other than rape because my god, what a waste of air, stop blowing it out of proportion." I don't think this is what you think you are doing, but it is what you are doing.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:30 AM on October 22, 2014 [26 favorites]


xigxag:

If you were trying to help, here's a point of feedback for you: I was literally too angry to respond to your post last night - I left off because this is Metafilter, and we don't throw down here. And I'm a guy, one who has never been sexually assaulted. I can't imagine what the women here felt, looking at your post.

See, you were being *cute*. You were being all pedantic and had little smileys and whatever in a thread where real, actual rape survivors were sharing their most traumatic experiences. Can you *imagine* if someone shot you in the face, your attacker walking free, and then another person coming up all cheerful to correct you about 'being shot in the face' statistics? So that face shooters wouldn't be able to gotcha you, while you're changing the bandages on your eyes? Because that is more or less what you did there.

When you want to help, think before you speak. Not about numbers, not about Buzzfeed, but about the people in the room with you, and how best you can support them. If you are at a loss, just be quiet and give the women the room about stuff like this.

Also, try not to get too caught up in the notion that you can somehow offer numbers that 'prove' something to rapists. There isn't a reasoned argument you can offer someone that they've done something like that. This was discussed upthread:

My two rapists both believe that what they did to me was fundamentally acceptable and okay. They will never believe otherwise, and when I tried to tell them that they had hurt me, they got upset and raged at me for making them feel like they'd done something wrong.

That's what people are dealing with, not some gentleman's disagreement that can be resolved with a whiteboard and some coffee.
posted by mordax at 11:01 AM on October 22, 2014 [31 favorites]


To be perfectly honest, while I was interested in seeing how much those claims about statistics comported with any actual numbers, I probably shouldn't have delved in like that both because it risked trivializing rapes as well as inadvertently giving more credibility to numbers that I don't think are particularly reliable for a pretty inherent epistemological reason: Outside of a very few cases where there's a confession of a false allegation, the intimate nature of rape makes it nigh impossible to judge an allegation as a false one, especially in our justice system. Being found not guilty or not having the allegation investigated or sustained does not mean that the allegation was false. We can say, generally, that allegations that result in a conviction are true but we can't say that ones that don't are false.
posted by klangklangston at 11:31 AM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'll take a thousand Richard Wagners, Woody Allens, R. Kellies and Bill Cosbies over one single Miranda July any day of the god damn week.

Well, to each their own, but none of the artists you named came up with anything as amazing as ))<>((.
posted by maxsparber at 11:35 AM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Upthread, I quibbled with the comet number and gave, I think, a pretty good reason for doing so: the error itself, to begin with, is a distraction from what's really important. Now I'm hearing that the error doesn't matter because Buzzfeed is known to be inaccurate anyway, very large numbers tend to seem identical, and innumeracy gotchas aren't important. Let me mention that in searching for the statistics, I did find a whole bunch of MRA blogs doing the innumeracy gotcha. And it's a huge gotcha, because the number in the Buzzfeed article is off by a large factor due to really glaring errors, resulting in a number that is flat-out not believable. I could link a 1,000+ upvoted Reddit post with hundreds of comments mocking the exact comparison mentioned and linked to upthread. These are people that, I'm sure, would mock or ignore anything that fits their biases about feminism or rape culture, but I loathe the idea of handing them fodder for their rape apologia.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 11:41 AM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


MRAs are not especially picky about the "data" they use, and they are not known for using arguments that would be acceptable in court. Or for that matter to the vast majority of decent human beings.
posted by lodurr at 11:48 AM on October 22, 2014


Now I'm hearing that the error doesn't matter because Buzzfeed is known to be inaccurate anyway, very large numbers tend to seem identical, and innumeracy gotchas aren't important.

That's a really bad reading of what I said. You yourself admit that certain people will mock or ignore anything that fits their biases about feminism or rape culture, so I'm not sure why you're so resistant to the notion that pedantically pointing out math errors in online articles may not do anyone any good at all.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:56 AM on October 22, 2014


"Innocent until proven guilty" is fast catching up to "Freedom of Speech!" as the internet's way of saying "I don't want to think about this, so shut up"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:09 PM on October 22, 2014 [13 favorites]


Sorry, I thought I was being fair. Replace "identical" with "lumped together" and "aren't important" with "are less important." I totally agree that gotchas are less important, and they only happen in the same places where Buzzfeed is likely to be cited (not courts, for sure). I don't agree that large numbers get lumped together. The comet figure is absolutely not believable, and it's not in the same ballpark as "you're more likely to get killed in a car crash," which I think is true.

I don't really have a rational reason for wanting these errors to be noted. I get a queasy feeling recognizing claims that are outrageous enough to be made punchlines of, making jokes out of feminism and rape, and I don't want to be a part of that process. Lucky me, I know, being able to salve my feelings that easily.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 12:17 PM on October 22, 2014


"At the same time, I think it's important that (to the extent possible) we stay honest and self-critical and use valid arguments for advancing the fight....Why do you have a problem with me pointing that out? To be honest there's a lot of dubious statistical assertions on this thread (more likely to be hit by a comet then falsely accused of rape) that are getting bounced around without the slightest critical eye. That's okay, people don't necessarily need to be critical of everything, but I like to check and verify sources when it comes to things I care about. "

They why do you trot out the fact that Bill Cosby's rapes are not statistically independent? It doesn't matter at all, statistically or in any other sense. Being wrong about statistics is not cool but its really really not cool when being wrong about statistics also overplays the possibility of false accusations.

This is a lot of outrage over someone else wanting to think about numbers.

That's because they are thinking about numbers poorly, and in the way that they are doing it, supporting rape culture. I would be more sympathetic if they got their numbers right, but that had no chance of happening, and the implication makes it more annoying.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:41 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


i think there is always going to be a fundamental struggle in these threads (and really, in every conversation about rape and rape allegations everywhere forever) because people are coming at it from such wildly different places.

i was molested for years as a child by another child, i was raped as a teen by another teen, i was raped as a teen by an adult, i was drugged and assaulted as an adult by one of my then best friends. i am completely and utterly unable to step back from those experiences and talk about rape like it's a calculus problem. i am unable to read things said about other alleged victims and not stand in their shoes. i know that metafilter isn't (and shouldn't be) a safe space. i know if i wade into a thread about rape i'm going to read some things that are triggering and upsetting. i try to check myself. i try to read over my responses a million times because i don't want to be accused of calling all men rapists or rape apologists. i try to be empathetic to where other people are coming from. but it's hard sometimes. there are times when comments that tend towards "well, actually..." and "technically..." make me want to scream until i'm red in the face. this isn't the appropriate reaction, i know that. i try to stifle it.

i guess what i'm saying is that if you find yourself having an intellectual exercise in threads like these and you get a reaction that is more furious than you think is warranted, just maybe consider the different places we're all at and this topic isn't, can't be, that detached for some of us.
posted by nadawi at 1:16 PM on October 22, 2014 [36 favorites]


also, the mra/pua/red pill/whatever the fuck dudes pass around actual for real how-to guides on how to get away with rape. i give less than a fuck about how they justify that to themselves.
posted by nadawi at 1:18 PM on October 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


---

See, you were being *cute*. You were being all pedantic and had little smileys and whatever

For goodness' sake the smiley was a direct response to Buress's joke. He told a joke, in a monologue about a rapist. The joke was that Bill Cosby rape brings up twice as many hits as Hannibal Buress. I found it ironic, because apparently (from my own Google search) he was now more famous than he previously thought, which I thought was kind of cool, a sort of good-guy Streisand effect. My smiley was a response to the irony of his joke backfiring. Turns out I was wrong. And I apologized for being wrong in thinking Buress was famouser than he is. See how that's not me chuckling about rape? Although, that nobody seems to be complaining about his making a statistical joke in the context of rape, that is a tiny bit ironic.

---

They why do you trot out the fact that Bill Cosby's rapes are not statistically independent?

This is the second time you accuse me of bringing it up, when I was responding to the previous poster, just as you are responding to me. Whatever point you think you're making is just exhausting.

---------

i guess what i'm saying is that if you find yourself having an intellectual exercise in threads like these and you get a reaction that is more furious than you think is warranted, just maybe consider the different places we're all at and this topic isn't, can't be, that detached for some of us.

Yes, I am taking this into consideration, or trying to. Likewise, I'd ask you to consider that not everybody's response to traumatic matters is the same.

Some people like to express themselves undetachedly by telling others of their nightmarish experiences, or through a sense of personal or communal outrage, or indignation or tears. Others are, as you say, more detached. We focus on the minutia, but not to trivialize the matter, far from it. We do it so we feel that we have a measure of control over the situation. Once it's indexed and cataloged, it's somehow less threatening. Some of you feel that expressing an interest in specific numbers is a support of rape culture. Ok, but on the other hand, cavalier indifference to the numbers feels like the reaction of someone who doesn't honestly give a shit about the subject, but mostly wants to bludgeon people with their emotional air superiority. I'm not saying that's what it is, but sometimes that's what it feels like to me.

Even so, I believe people are completely entitled to a purely emotional, non-quantified response. I know my way is not the highway. But I don't believe people are entitled to shut down or cast aspersions upon my "detached" way of dealing. I really hate having to establish any kind of victim bona fides, it makes me literally cringe, but I've been a victim of repeated sexual harassment/abuse and some very serious physical abuse, but not personally rape, that I am aware of. I wish I could say the same about my immediate family (in fact you might be my sister, based upon what you just wrote.) And more. So yes, I've dealt with some personal trauma. More of us have than care to discuss it, I think we both agree. But let's also agree, we don't all deal with our issues the same way. Your way is fine for you, but you don't get to tell me that my less emotional way of handling it wrong for me, or that in deference to you, I should refrain from expressing myself. I apologize, sincerely, that my words offend you, but it's also offensive to me that some people are so quick to shout down ways of discussing and handling traumatic matters that differ from their own. I originally only wrote one egghead post in response to another egghead post. I wasn't expecting to have to defend my post's right to exist, only maybe to have to defend my own sketchy math. I take great comfort in some of the things posted on MeFi, but not so much the "shut the fuck up, you're not entitled to speak" type posts. Which happens here more often than it should.
posted by xigxag at 4:22 PM on October 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


A man is 631 times more likely to become an NFL player than to be falsely accused of rape. Thirty-two times more likely to be struck by lightning! Eleven times more likely to be hit by a comet.

While false rape accusations are rare, the Buzzfeed numbers are wrong by at least three orders of magnitude, because the author takes the odds of being falsely accused of rape per sex act, and then declares that this is the odds of being accused of rape in one's lifetime.
posted by martinrebas at 5:21 PM on October 22, 2014


xigxag: I agree with that, but, at the same time, my chances of being a rapist, that's the one I'm mostly worried about.

You can make that chances as near to zero as possible if you chose to. I personally have become very fond of Crystal Clear Consent as a paradigm for changing communication between people around sex. Have sex only with people with whom you feel comfortable communicating your feelings, and avoid situations where there is a power differential, even one as simple as him or her being more intoxicated than you are. Take more care with age differentials. Demonstrate you respect even a non-verbal "no." The vast majority of people can recognize "no" in non-romantic and non-sexual circumstances; if you have difficulty recognizing "no," in sexual circumstances then practice with people in non-romantic and non-sexual circumstances and then try to translate to sexual circumstances. A therapist may be able to help you with this.

This also, honestly, would be a good discussion to start with your friends; talk about consent, when you've felt pressured to give consent, etc... It can sensitize you to the subtle signals people give that they are uncomfortable if you're more in touch with times you've been uncomfortable. I tend to be very mindful about physical contact around people I don't know very well - eye contact and subtle gestures for consent before hugs, for example, with no consequences for someone indicating they're uncomfortable, and pulling back if they become tense. It gets easier with practice.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:35 PM on October 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Deoridhe, thanks. That was a lot more straightforward than I was expecting it to be before I clicked on the link. Honestly I thought there was going to be a flowchart.

BTW, to be clear, I'm not expecting to be in situations where I misread consent. But that's the point. If a man's a self-described "good guy," he's naturally not expecting it. And yet "good guy" rapists abound. If that didn't give me pause, I wouldn't be taking it seriously enough.
posted by xigxag at 7:33 PM on October 22, 2014


I think that research strongly repudiates the idea that "good guy" rapists abound. I will link to Dr. David Lisak's research until I'm blue in the face, it appears. A small minority of men have ever committed rape or attempted rape. A majority of those men are serial rapists. Serial rapists account for approximately 90% of rapes. In general, rape does not happen "on accident" or by mistake. The value in radical, affirmative consent is that it removes this "mistake" excuse that serial rapists sometimes use.
posted by muddgirl at 8:13 PM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I had dinner in Brentwood maybe six or eight years ago and sat at the table right next to Mr. Cosby and his family.

I grew up watching Himself dozens -- hundreds? -- of times. We had it on VHS and the whole family loved it.

But that entire time at dinner all I noticed was that he looked mean and unhappy the whole time, and was very rude to the wait staff. Sure, everyone has a bad day or is in a bad mood every now and then, I guess.

But I'd never heard any of the rape allegations, or, really, anything negative about him at all, until I saw this thread a few minutes ago. Ever since that dinner I have thought that there was something more that I didn't know. I sat next to (or dined with) much, much bigger "celebrities" than him over the ~15 years I lived in LA, and none of them were rude to the wait staff except him.
posted by GatorDavid at 8:49 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns.

Oh, now I'm calling bullshit. NOBODY is watching Cosby Show reruns.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:44 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think that research strongly repudiates the idea that "good guy" rapists abound

The numbers are WEIRD, but the survey Muddgirl linked to, of 1882 male college students about 6% admitted to raping women so long as the word rape wasn't used. Most astonishingly/depressingly/etc... "Just 4% of the men surveyed committed over 400 attempted or completed rapes."

I feel hopeful from these numbers because it means it really is a minority of men. I feel depressed because the systemic protection of these men means that a lot more people as setting up the circumstances within which these predators can serial rape and be protected. Examples like the 100 serial rapists found when Detroit finally tested a minority of it's outstanding rape kits are frustrating because it becomes so clear that the people running the show really don't care that women are raped.

"Over 11,000 sexual assault kits, some dating back to the 1980's, were found abandoned in a Detroit Police storage facility back in 2009...So far, 1,600 rape kits have been processed, resulting in the identification of about 100 serial rapists and ten convicted rapists, according to Worthy. "

The numbers are higher in a 2013 study which was international and, like the study referenced above, based on the reports of men about their own behavior. There is a huge standard deviation between locations, belying claims by Men's Rights Advocates that rape is a form of male sexual expression that feminists are unfairly objecting to.

All of the evidence points to the fact that these men who rape knew they were doing something against the will of the women they targeted, but didn't care. The use of "I'm a good guy" can thus be seen not as an expression of honest confusion, but rather as a self-protective lie in order to place all of the blame and consequences for the man choosing to rape the woman on the woman raped. This hopefully is a reassurance for ACTUAL loving and kind men, as well as a request for them to protect the women around them by not protecting men who claim to be nice while raping others.

Of course the glaring lack of a study of women who rape is obvious, and there are critical limitations to a study based on the reports of people who rape, but I feel like these studies give us a sense of the minimums and the importance of not only building awareness of consent, but also combating victim blaming so that serial rapists - who cause the vast majority of rapes - can be stopped early.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:44 PM on October 22, 2014 [12 favorites]


I don't think the numbers are that "weird." The way I read reports on that survey was not that these were "good guys", but that they were engaged in high levels of rationalization. Which is what you'd expect from serial rapists who don't want to think of themselves as 'bad guys.'

So what we've got is a bunch of guys (and it would be interesting to know if this worked for female-on-male rape, too) who want to think of themselves as 'good' -- want to rationalize their behavior. This is basically what you see happening with a lot of PUA fellow-travellers (e.g. Elliot Rodger), who want to work a formula, 'appease the enemy' and get laid. (Cargo-cult thinking -- there's got to be something to the fact that we keep coming back to cargo-cult thinking whenever this stuff comes up.) And I'd bet that Cosby's rationalizations had to do with 'helping' people develop their careers, so I'm pretty sure he thinks (or at least has convinced himself he thinks) he's a good guy whose been misunderstood.
posted by lodurr at 3:56 AM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sorry, i didn't get that WEIRD was an acroynym.
posted by lodurr at 4:05 AM on October 23, 2014


Justinian:
Logically, sure. But logically people over the last few weeks should have been far more afraid of driving to the store to pick up a gallon of milk than of catching Ebola and bleeding out of their eyeballs. But I know which one caused more fear.

Humans are no good at this sort of thing.
I think this may be the most relevant comment in terms of the whole "false accusation" derail. The actual rate of false accusations is mostly irrelevant to this incident - it's the perception of false accusations, especially against celebrities, that help protect people like Cosby. People aren't good at evaluating threats in terms of percentages vs flashiness - just look at security theater in the face of terrorism. They see crazy stuff like Dave Letterman's stalker and just assume, "sure, a bunch of women might line up to falsely accuse Cosby of rape." It doesn't make sense when you really think about it, but many thoughtful people here have already mentioned that it is hard to think about Bill Cosby this way. How many more people without the benefit of reading these links are going to give it more than a moment's thought?

And that's (partly) how this works. Non-examined preconceptions about celebrities coloring new information that isn't carefully thought about leading to Bill Cosby coasting through the public eye.
posted by charred husk at 10:37 AM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


No worries, lodurr.

There isn't nearly as much data or reports on female on male sexual exploitation. The Mental Illness Happy Hour Host Paul Gilmartin talks regularly about emotional incest between mothers and sons, and his anonymous surveys sometimes come from male victims of abuse and rape. The most common experiences from those seem to be babysitter base (I may be biased because my rapist was molested by his babysitter) and fall into the "making him a man" scenario where the boy is not allowed to feel exploited because the patriarchal ideal is that a "real man" always wants sex. This is one of those areas where I really wish more men supported each other, because it hurts my heart to see the effects it has on people; a friend of mine once told me about how he was congratulated for his rape because the girl who raped him was attractive, and how that fucked with his head. Building an understanding that informed and verified consent is critical to sex which is enjoyable for everyone involved is really a win/win except for people who become aroused by the suffering of others.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:19 AM on October 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Washington Post: Is The World Finally Starting To Turn Against Bill Cosby?

Hoping this is an exception that proves Betteridge's law.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:08 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


oops
posted by tonycpsu at 6:53 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Only after a man, Hannibal Buress, called Bill Cosby a rapist in a comedy act last month did the public outcry begin in earnest. The original video of Buress’s performance went viral. This week, Twitter turned against him, too, with a meme that emblazoned rape scenarios across pictures of his face.

While I am grateful for the new attention to Cosby’s crimes, I must ask my own questions: Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade. Why didn’t our stories go viral?
Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story? - Barbara Bowen
posted by nadawi at 8:27 AM on November 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story? - Barbara Bowen

This is not a good answer in the sense that it is just, but it's probably at least a partially accurate psychological variable. Namely, it is really, really hard to turn in people who are members of your family for wrongdoing, especially if all memories of them are good and define a significant part of your life, and perhaps your childhood. People have felt for a long time felt affection for Cosby that was akin to being a member of the family, and it takes a whole lot of work to push in a direction that dismantles those memories on a large scale, even if initially faced with evidence.

I think our culture has been facing a cognitive dissonance between facts and affective memory that is hard to dismantle, and it took a lot of consistent and reliable prodding from multiple directions to create a new momentum. This doesn't excuse it, of course, but I do think that explains in part why it's hard for just one person to get a hearing against someone who has invested a lot of social capital in a culture that is highly appreciative of those investments. This is a real problem that needs to be addressed as we think about creating better environments for victims to come forward and tell their stories.

So whatever we think about Cosby's power or influence to stifle accusations or ability to create fear behind the scenes, we also contend with that sociological dynamic on top of it. If people do not want to turn in their beloved father or uncle or grandfather, that same thing was probably at play here, as well, in terms of the public response to an accusation from someone who perhaps seems distant and far removed and we have never heard of before.

That sucks, and it's part of the bigger problem of not believing victims, but I do think that people's general love of Bill Cosby created a whole lot of momentum on a large social scale, and to try and move into a new direction on that same scale took continuous drum beating from a lot of different directions. I'm glad that Bowden's story is now being affirmed, even if it took way too long to get there.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:47 AM on November 14, 2014


SpacemanStix, your answer isn't wrong, but it misses Bowen's point: that the stories are believed when told by men, but not when told by women.
posted by lodurr at 8:55 AM on November 14, 2014


that the stories are believed when told by men, but not when told by women.

But that's not what happened. Buress didn't say that Cosby raped him. He just told people to look up the stories that had already been written. He was a man reporting women's stories. This had already happened in the past; male reporters had reported the exact same stories when they first broke. The fact that the stories got traction now when they didn't before is just one of those weird things, but whatever else it is it isn't a "men get believed and women don't" story--however true that may be as a general rule.

Anyone believing these women's stories now is believing women. They're not believing Buress.
posted by yoink at 9:11 AM on November 14, 2014


Anyone believing these women's stories now is believing women. They're not believing Buress.

They're believing the story after a man has told it. They declined to believe it after a woman had previously told it.

If your argument is that believing Buress is equivalent to originally having believed the women, that's just wrong. If your argument is that believing Buress now means that they also now believe the women, that could well be wrong, too -- we have no evidence that it's true, and even if it's true in this specific case, Bowen's point still stands: The women's story was not believed until it was retold by a man.
posted by lodurr at 9:16 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


SpacemanStix, your answer isn't wrong, but it misses Bowen's point: that the stories are believed when told by men, but not when told by women.

Yes, that is certainly a problem, although I don't think it is as big of a variable as the one I mentioned above. There is a serious problem with women not being heard and believed, and also men being granted more credibility.

But I think if Buress was a woman saying the same things in front of the same audience, it would have gained a similar amount of traction. It is possible that I'm wrong about that, but my gut feeling is that it had little to do with Buress as a male as it is with Buress as a person who was in the right place at the right time.

One of the things that he did effectively was collate the disparate narratives floating out around there into a single lightbulb moment for a lot of people. Even though there have been accusations against Cosby for awhile, that was a big ah-ha moment for me, and I think many people would have had it regardless of gender.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:20 AM on November 14, 2014


If your argument is that believing Buress is equivalent to originally having believed the women

No, my argument is that "believing Buress" amounts to believing the statement "there are some women out there who told these stories about Cosby raping them." Buress isn't claiming some special insider knowledge. He's simply pointing people to stories which were already reported. Not only were they already reported, they had already been reported by men. So to "believe Buress" is simply to believe that those stories exist and to go read them, it is not to add some new magic measure of masculine "truthiness" to the reports.

If you choose to believe the stories (i.e., if you believe that Cosby is a rapist) then you are not "believing Buress" you are believing the women who claim that Cosby raped them.

This isn't some tricksy, post-modernist ju-jitsu; it's simply self-evident fact. Nobody at all is believing that Cosby is a rapist simply because "a man said so." All the man said is "there are women who say this." Men had said that before when the story first broke. If all the story needed to be believed was a man saying this, it would have been believed the first time around.
posted by yoink at 10:00 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


This isn't some tricksy, post-modernist ju-jitsu; it's simply self-evident fact.

You're right that it's not post-modernist; you're wrong that it's self-evident fact. The reason you're wrong is that you fail to account for the fact that stories do not exist apart from their provenance. These stories now have additional provenance: they have been filtered through the critical faculties of a man.

If you don't think that makes a difference, you haven't had a conversation with an MRA.
posted by lodurr at 10:08 AM on November 14, 2014


These stories now have additional provenance: they have been filtered through the critical faculties of a man.

And, again, they already had been when they were first reported. By men.
posted by yoink at 10:10 AM on November 14, 2014


There's a difference between what a reporter does (which often includes hedging like "she alleges," and explicitly doesn't include the reporter's assessment of the subject's credibility) and someone treating the women's reports as credible and true.

Burress's comments would be different from a reporter's news story (in terms of what they communicate to a listener) if they had the background assumption "these women are obviously telling the truth, so we can take their stories as a fact and go from there,".... and especially the background of "everyone knows these stories are true, it's just common knowledge that Cosby is a rapist." That's a powerful message - "all us savvy people know it's true" - that isn't conveyed by a neutral news story.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:25 AM on November 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


In the case of Cosby, a lot of what's going on here is just getting people to snap out of the collective denial, or the it's-an-open-secret-we-never-speak-of mode. I mean, a lot of people hadn't heard this -- but I think even among people who had heard it, it's such a horrible thing about someone that people want so much to be a good guy, that there was still an uneasy hanging-back, not wanting it to be true and so not publicly trumpeting the reports. Somebody like a comedian speaking up about it, treating it as just a fact that should be widely known and openly discussed, makes a big difference, makes it more of a "we don't have the choice to hang back and ignore it anymore" thing that must be faced publicly, and more so because it's a man saying it.

I mean, I don't think it's only Burress that's making this bigger. Social media is now at a point to make a story like this blow up even if mainstream media might be inclined to ignore it, and the social justice/rape awareness side of social media is much stronger than it was even a few years ago. So the question is, if a female comedian had made similar remarks, would today's social media ecosystem have blown them up as big as this, or would they be treated differently? I don't know.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:41 AM on November 14, 2014 [7 favorites]


Burress's comments would be different from a reporter's news story (in terms of what they communicate to a listener) if they had the background assumption "these women are obviously telling the truth

You might want to reread that a few times and notice whose story, even in your own telling, is being held to be credible here.
posted by yoink at 10:48 AM on November 14, 2014


Isn't that exactly the point? That Burress's assessment of the women as credible is what has suddenly bestowed public credibility on their accounts, whereas before he made his comments, they were not publicly deemed as credible?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:51 AM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


"There's a difference between what a reporter does (which often includes hedging like "she alleges," and explicitly doesn't include the reporter's assessment of the subject's credibility) and someone treating the women's reports as credible and true. "

Reporters are basically required to hedge because they're only supposed to report what they can prove. While the standard is different from a court of law, many reported claims do end up in court for libel.

The example I think best illustrates that is the difference between reporting a car crash as an "accident" or a "collision." A decent editor will never let you describe it as an "accident" unless you can document somehow that there was no one at fault.

For matters like this, even now, you have to report it as the women alleging that Cosby raped them. A good reporter can still make it clear that, you know, alleged war criminal Henry Kissinger ordered the illegal bombing of Cambodian civilians, but absent a conviction or at least a very widely accepted opinion, it's a no-go for responsible publication.
posted by klangklangston at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


LobsterMitten:
"Social media is now at a point to make a story like this blow up even if mainstream media might be inclined to ignore it, and the social justice/rape awareness side of social media is much stronger than it was even a few years ago. So the question is, if a female comedian had made similar remarks, would today's social media ecosystem have blown them up as big as this, or would they be treated differently? "
I think this is pretty on point but I'd add that whomever would have started this off would have to be perceived as a neutral party, like a comedian, and unfortunately probably a man. I could see this maybe taking off if a female comedian of similar clout said it, but not likely since they'd not be deemed as having an "even" view of things. Because of bullshit.

Which kind of brings us back around to, "Because a man said it", though for slightly different reasons.
posted by charred husk at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2014


I think this is pretty on point but I'd add that whomever would have started this off would have to be perceived as a neutral party, like a comedian, and unfortunately probably a man. I could see this maybe taking off if a female comedian of similar clout said it, but not likely since they'd not be deemed as having an "even" view of things. Because of bullshit.

Again, I don't know this has anything to do with being a man. I do know that what tipped the scales for me was that he pointed out new information that I had not noticed before: if you Google Bill Cosby and rape, you get a plethora of embarrassing information that is hard to ignore. If anything, that dump truck of evidence seemed to be hiding in plain sight and someone shone a flashlight on it through social media in a way that took off on its own merits; namely, a lot of women telling the same story is pretty hard to dismiss for any reason.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:32 AM on November 14, 2014


a lot of women telling the same story is pretty hard to dismiss for any reason.

Sadly, this is very much incorrect. Many, many people find it stunningly easy to dismiss a lot of women telling the same story and have no qualms about saying so.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:45 AM on November 14, 2014


Sadly, this is very much incorrect. Many, many people find it stunningly easy to dismiss a lot of women telling the same story and have no qualms about saying so.

But that's what happened in this case. It went forward based on the weight of the evidence, not because Buress was saying it. He was just the person standing on the sidelines pointing to what people seemed to be missing. That's a pretty gender neutral role to be playing.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:50 AM on November 14, 2014


And why did they miss it for so long, when the information was readily available?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:01 PM on November 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


But that's what happened in this case. It went forward based on the weight of the evidence, not because Buress was saying it. He was just the person standing on the sidelines pointing to what people seemed to be missing. That's a pretty gender neutral role to be playing.

The evidence has been there for many years. Hannibal Burress isn't the first person, or even the first man, to aggregate it and point it out. Maybe the culture has changed enough that people will listen to this kind of message, and maybe, thanks to new technologies, it's easier for this kind of message to be broadcast, so maybe it was easier for this particular message to finally take hold.

But for many years, this particular message didn't take hold, which means that for many years, people looked at the evidence, thought for a bit, and then said to themselves: "What? Bill Cosby? Nah."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:08 PM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Cosby cancels Letterman appearance.
posted by mecran01 at 9:38 AM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]




i find it really strange cosby's people didn't make that question off limits for the interview (or maybe that they did but the interviewer went on anyway? but it doesn't seem like that from the way he worded the question and followup). i wonder if it's just 100% denial and refusal to engage all the way down in his camp.
posted by nadawi at 11:17 AM on November 15, 2014


I've heard him interviewed on some local radio shows (about the art exhibit) and this question was not asked. So I'm guessing they did stipulate it was off-limits, or that only questions about the art would be answered, and the NPR person went against that. Or maybe NPR had more spine than the other radio venues I've heard him on?
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:19 AM on November 15, 2014


Re. 'spine': These days with NPR, who knows. It may have been simply a question of knowing what would lede well. I'm glad they asked, though.
posted by lodurr at 2:49 PM on November 15, 2014


Oh my god! AARGH! I thought I was beyond the point where I let media get me upset, but Whoopie Goldberg just pushed me over the edge again.
Other are talking about the Bill Cosby case on The View. And the other hosts have been objective, at least, though they are dong the innocent until proven guilty spiel and only Rosie O'Donnell pointed out there has already been a settlement and that some of the statute of limitations have passed already.

But Ehoopie is in straight-on victim blaming mode, and it pisses me off. She also said that the Roman Polanski case was "Not RAPE rape," so I didn't expect anything Grar, but jeez. She talked about how she has been wrongly accused of things before, and made a lot of comments about police and rape kits and how she personally wants to ask one victim some questions, in a very dark way that clearly intimated she thought the woman was lying and Cosby was being targeted.
posted by misha at 8:29 AM on November 17, 2014


Scott Simon tweeted about the interview all weekend. He says that it's not possible that Cosby was ambushed - his PR person was there for the whole interview. So, I'm guessing that it wasn't off limits. They just assumed it wouldn't be asked, is my guess. It was also pointed out that only Mrs. Cosby says "thank you" at the end of the interview.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:34 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


whoopie has been and continues to be the worst - she also thinks men should hit women.
posted by nadawi at 8:41 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Scott Simon is one of the biggest class acts in public broadcasting, and I think he handled that interview masterfully.
posted by jbickers at 10:10 AM on November 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Cosby's lawyers are doing the non-denial denial dance. If he's got any sense at all, he'll withdraw from public life at this point and be thankful that he's not spending the rest of his life behind bars.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:39 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


i find it interesting that no one is asking the people involved in his upcoming pilot if plans have changed...
posted by nadawi at 11:07 AM on November 17, 2014


His upcoming series is almost certainly dead in the water. I suspect he'll begin declining all interviews and appearances soon citing health or old age fatigue reasons.

Also, he made jokes about drugging women on a comedy album in 1969.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 9:56 AM on November 18, 2014


janice dickinson, who has been forever saying that bill cosby is a creep who preys on young women and that cosby tried it with her, is now saying [autoplay video] that he did rape her and that her publisher was threatened by cosby's lawyers to remove the allegations from her book.
posted by nadawi at 3:59 PM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


The Cosby Show by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
posted by charred husk at 6:01 AM on November 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


don lemon asked one of cosby's victims why she didn't fight back. twitter responds with #DonLemonReporting and #WhenIWasRaped.
posted by nadawi at 7:36 AM on November 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


Even now as I sketch this out for you publicly, I am humiliated all again. And this happened when I was a child. If recounting a physical assault causes me humiliation, how might recounting a sexual assault feel? And what would cause me to willingly stand up and relive that humiliation before a national audience? And why would I fake my way through such a thing? Cosby's accusers—who have no hope of criminal charges, nor civil damages—are courting the scrutiny of Cosby-lovers and rape-deniers. To what end?

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a treasure.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:46 AM on November 19, 2014 [8 favorites]




patton oswalt weighs in:
You were the first reason I wanted to do comedy. I'll always marvel at your genius onstage. But here's where we say goodbye, Bill Cosby.
posted by nadawi at 10:09 AM on November 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


Roxane Gay weighs in as well.
There is a popular and precious fantasy that abounds, that women are largely conspiring to take men down with accusations of rape, as if there is some kind of benefit to publicly outing oneself as a rape victim. This fantasy becomes even more elaborate when a famous and/or wealthy man is involved. These women are out to get that man. They want his money. They want attention. It’s easier to indulge this fantasy than it is to face the truth that sometimes, the people we admire and think we know, are capable of terrible things.
posted by rtha at 10:13 AM on November 19, 2014 [12 favorites]




The key line in Gay's piece for me, so so important to always remember: "Art is nothing compared to humanity, nothing at all."
posted by kmz at 10:56 AM on November 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


At least The Talk women are 100% supportive of the women coming forward. Thank goodness some TV coverage is doing it right.

Also, they confirmed that NBC has cancelled the sitcom pilot, but said that Netflix has only postponed the stand-up series (as of 2:15 today EST).
posted by misha at 11:34 AM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


i imagine postponed means suspended indefinitely. i can almost see them releasing it after his death...
posted by nadawi at 12:13 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I've heard him interviewed on some local radio shows (about the art exhibit) and this question was not asked."
-a few days ago

Only a day or two after that, the same station was running with the news about the accusations and the lawyer's "no comment." And now the public retreat from him by big entertainment companies. It's amazing how the coverage of this is taking off. Way to go, Burress, and the accuser who put that op-ed in the Washington Post.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:53 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Cosby's biographer was already out on a book tour before this broke, talking about Cosby's health problems. (He's said to be practically blind, for one.) He may already be poised to bow out of public life and into a comfortable retirement, if the kitchen gets too hot.
posted by Flexagon at 1:23 PM on November 19, 2014


'Comfortable' is a relative term. It's hard to imagine him becoming financially challenged by any of this -- AFAIK he's really well off. But if the lives of other people who've had analogous exposures late in life is any guide, he's not likely to be able to just forget it. So there's that.
posted by lodurr at 1:35 PM on November 19, 2014


What the shit, Don Lemon???
posted by tonycpsu at 1:36 PM on November 19, 2014


I'd be surprised if Don Lemon still has a job after this. That was egregious.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:51 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


sadly, don lemon has been getting away with saying super fucked up shit for a minute and i don't expect this latest idiotic thing will harm his employment.

and just pointing out the hashtags that grew out of his shitty questions.

the weird thing for me, as a survivor, is that don lemon is a survivor of childhood sexual assault. it's extra awful that those with histories like ours would do that.
posted by nadawi at 1:56 PM on November 19, 2014


Oops, I searched for "CNN" before I linked to that but not "Don Lemon"
posted by tonycpsu at 1:58 PM on November 19, 2014


oh no problem at all - it should be pointed out again and again, as far as i'm concerned.

also, bill cosby's new lawyer is sent a threatening letter to buzzfeed.
posted by nadawi at 2:02 PM on November 19, 2014


He's said to be practically blind, for one.

This is true -- when he performs, he stands on an area rug which sharply contrasts with the stage floor and uses that edging as a guide. (Source: my stage-tech brother, when Cosby played his theater.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:07 PM on November 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Huh, that's definitely a more aggressive approach than the previous non-denial denials. Even if it turned out that Dickinson's account was exaggerated / fabricated, one wonders why there hasn't been a similarly pointed attack on the other allegations.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:07 PM on November 19, 2014


dickinson is also the most famous and biggest celebrity of all the accusers. and she's been saying for a long damn time that cosby is a creep. it might just be him making good on his threats to her last time she tried to publish the accusations.
posted by nadawi at 2:15 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wasn't Don Lemon part of CNN's garbage ferguson coverage?
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on November 19, 2014


If I remember correctly, Lemon got shoved around by a Ferguson cop on live tv. But then Talib Kweli called him out over some kinda shit that I didn't have time to look into.
posted by klangklangston at 2:54 PM on November 19, 2014




Janice Dickinson is on the record in 2006 for saying that Harper Collins wouldn't let her include what she had written about Bill Cosby in her book and that he's a "bad guy" who "preys on women". (Warning: Howard Stern Show)

I'm not really a Janice Dickinson fan, but I believe her.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:04 PM on November 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


The news here reported that now TVLand has even pulled their old reruns of The Cosby Show off the air. The momentum this has gained in such a short time after being swept under the rug for years is staggering.

I feel pretty confident the settlement Cosby and one of the victims made was contingent on her not speaking out about what happened, and the other women were originally just conveniently dismissed by the Cosby PR machine. So it is encouraging that this new combination of comics and celebrities speaking out against Cosby and Cosby refusing to talk about the many allegations against him is having the effect of getting people to examine, or reexamine, the charges those women made against him.
posted by misha at 6:18 PM on November 19, 2014


also, bill cosby's new lawyer is sent a threatening letter to buzzfeed.

It's an interesting letter. I don't read a lot of this kind of letter, but this one strikes as kind of -- well, problematic, for lack of a better term. It's very handwavy -- makes a bunch of blanket assertions and vague descriptions. (E.g., Dickinson's story in the book is "completely different", but he never bothers to characterize what that means; she 'contradicts' her account, but he doesn't explain how; etc.) The legal threats are vague and some of the language seems intended to insinuate a threat without stating it. 'We might get mad and do something we're not going to specify at this time' is how I'd parse the penultimate paragraph.

All that having been said, this letter might work on me, but that's because I could barely afford getting the right kind of attorney to LOOK at it. It puzzles me, though, why someone would expect it to intimidate a media company of significant size.

would the insinuated threats actually have any teeth against Buzzfeed in the US?

Far-fetched idea: Could he sue in Britain?
posted by lodurr at 6:51 PM on November 19, 2014


UK libel laws are much easier for the plaintiff - the burden of proof rests with the defendant. Here's an overview of the differences between the US and the UK.

Not sure if a lawsuit slapped on a UK news org would be a realistic (or smart) course of action for him or not.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:09 PM on November 19, 2014


The AP decided to release some video of him from after an interview, attempting to persuade [that's the charitable way to put it] the interviewer to cut out some tough questions. Damn, not a good look.
posted by glhaynes at 8:53 AM on November 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm not happy that it took a man speaking out to get this sort of reaction to multiple women being raped and abused... but I'm glad this reaction is happening. (And I wish I didn't have plans on the night that Hannibal Buress is going to be in Seattle next month.)
posted by palomar at 10:30 AM on November 20, 2014


"I don't want to compromise your integrity, but...."

Wow.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:40 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


But how many times, over the years, have reporters agreed not to question Cosby about the rape allegations? How many times has he succeeded in having such interview segments quashed?

Perhaps the answer to those questions could help explain why the rape allegations against Cosby had so little effect on his career until now.


Might explain why it took a viral video for this to really enter the public consciousness. I'm deeply worried a lot of bad shit in politics ends up barely covered or covered up for similar reasons. If you want the access, they make you play ball.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:32 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]




Oh my god ... that AP video ... he makes my skin crawl. "If you will tell your boss, the reason we didn't say anything upfront is because we thought AP had the integrity to not ask."

Leaving aside (for a second) the 16+ rape allegations themselves, what a sanctimonious prick.
posted by Asparagus at 1:19 PM on November 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, the way he says to this young journalist, "I think if you want to consider yourself serious, it won't appear anywhere" feels so eerily similar to the way these women described him using his power over a young easily intimidated person to get what he wants. It's horrific.
posted by Asparagus at 1:34 PM on November 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


One of the most unsettling things about that AP interview is the frozen smile on his wife's face the whole time. I can only imagine the things that woman knows and has seen, and is having to stuff inside.
posted by jbickers at 1:55 PM on November 20, 2014


As for the absurd implication that we should only enjoy the work of artists who are also "acceptable" to society and perceived as, simply, well.. "nice" people, I'll take a thousand Richard Wagners, Woody Allens, R. Kellies and Bill Cosbies over one single Miranda July any day of the god damn week.

My, you are so sophisticated and adult for being able to separate the art from the artist.

How 'bout this. I don't financially support monsters just because they have created great art. And it's not for perception, I don't go around wearing an armband proclaiming "I didn't see the Polanski's Pirates because I'm a nice guy who doesn't support pedophiles". I do it because that's my value system. You have a different one, but don't minimize mine.

In many cases, the celebrity that these degenerate and craven individuals have gained through their art and our support has given them a platform and a shield to continue their monstrous behavior far beyond what someone without their wealth and clout would be able to do in our society.

You want to say I am a philistine because I want to be perceived as nice and I'm not sophisticated enough to evaluate the art on it's own merits separate from the artist. Fine, go for it. But don't get upset when I call you a codependent enabler.
posted by prodigalsun at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


sorry if this has already been posted - but carla ferrigno (lou's wife) has started talking about an unsettling night she spent with the cosbys back in 1967.
posted by nadawi at 3:15 PM on November 20, 2014


Glenn Beck, keepin' it classy like always, accuses the Associated Press of "media raping" Bill Cosby.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:21 PM on November 20, 2014


""I don't want to compromise your integrity, but...."

"… I mixed you this drink."
posted by klangklangston at 7:32 PM on November 20, 2014


One of the most unsettling things about that AP interview is the frozen smile on his wife's face the whole time.

People have been justifiably focusing on the externalities, what BC may have or probably did to other women, but the marriage is a whole other level of horror. It's not possible that she didn't know. It seems extremely likely that if this is his proclivity he's done it to her. And yet, well. *BOGGLE*
posted by localroger at 7:45 PM on November 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


the carla ferrigno article has some interesting stuff about camille...
posted by nadawi at 8:52 PM on November 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jon Stewart zinged Cosby tonight on TDS. He did it rather quickly with a "laying pipe" innuendo and a Cosby lifting his hands to his chest in that weird t-rex caricature pose. I wonder how much more that will fan the flames.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 10:55 PM on November 20, 2014


Cosby s 69 years old. I was reading the article linked earlier, and this kept leaping out at me, "he has been married since 1964 to Camille, 62."

How can that be right? Doesn't that mean she was 12 years old when they got married? He would have been nineteen.
posted by misha at 11:32 PM on November 20, 2014


You have your numbers messed up there somewhere.

Wiki: Cosby met his future wife, Camille Olivia Hanks, while he was performing stand-up in Washington, D.C., in the early 1960s, when she was a student at the University of Maryland.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:25 AM on November 21, 2014


Cosby turned 77 this year, meaning he was 26 or 27 when he married, and she was ~20 years old.
posted by pipian at 12:29 AM on November 21, 2014


Oh, duh! The article is 8 years old. So she would be 70 now, and he is, I guess, 77.

Makes a lot more sense!
posted by misha at 12:29 AM on November 21, 2014


yeah, the shelved netflix special was supposed to be a celebration of his 77th year...
posted by nadawi at 6:20 AM on November 21, 2014


It seems like he's getting fêted much more properly now at any rate...
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 7:30 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


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