46 women now
July 26, 2015 6:46 PM   Subscribe

‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen (trigger warning: sexual assault) SL longform New York Magazine. [archive.org saved version here]
posted by roomthreeseventeen (179 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
 
That cover is so damn powerful.

Janet Mock: "#TheEmptyChair signals the women who couldn't come forward mostly b/c we, as a culture, wouldn't believe them."
posted by naju at 6:50 PM on July 26, 2015 [24 favorites]


I am thrilled by their courage and solidarity, very sad that there are this many victims, and still a bit stunned at Cosby's ongoing lack of any remorse at all.
posted by bearwife at 6:56 PM on July 26, 2015 [13 favorites]


Larry Wilmore: “Bill Cosby Says The Darndest Things” (via We Hunted The Mammoth)
posted by Going To Maine at 6:56 PM on July 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


FTA: "I had a few moments where I tried to come forward. But I was just too scared, and I also had the extra burden of not really wanting to take an African-American man down.” —Jewel Allison

Of all of the horrible things in this article, this affects me so deeply. To feel the shame and weight of that for so long...
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:58 PM on July 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


A week or so ago there was an article from the NYT that was making the rounds on my fb feed about the deposition that Cosby gave a decade ago, and I couldn't read past the first graf because the reporters used "seducing" and "philandering" and "sex acts" and I was like, are you fucking kidding me. I'm relieved that the MY Mag writer and editors have avoided the euphemisms.
posted by rtha at 7:04 PM on July 26, 2015 [35 favorites]


Thrift stores are full to bursting with recently acquired Bill Cosby records and cassettes.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:27 PM on July 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


How many more of Cosby's victims are out there? Hundreds? A few thousand, perhaps? And each and every one of those women have carried a weight of pain and trauma for decades. One man caused all that pain and never suffered for it until now - if you call everyone finally knowing the truth about you suffering when you can sit in your mansion and gather your family and true believer friends around you. He also still has fans and defenders. He still has over 4 million followers on Twitter alone.

Guilt sits so lightly on abusers.
posted by orange swan at 7:36 PM on July 26, 2015 [14 favorites]


Every detail I read of this is more awful and gross than the last. His total lack of remorse or empathy simply highlights his entitlement.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:38 PM on July 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


He admitted it in a 1969 monologue, "Spanish Fly", and America got a big laugh.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:43 PM on July 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think, "he's a sociopath," and then I realize there are so many people who think this is seduction and philandering and the way men and women work. Like his wife and Andrea Peyser and so many other defenders.
posted by Mavri at 7:44 PM on July 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


46? Jesus. We're so far beyond the point where another increase in the number will sway anybody. As Larry Whitmore said back when the number was moving from 34 to 35, "If the difference between 34 and 35 women matters to you, please fuck off forever.” So no it ought not matter to anyone in assessing Cosby's guilt and it could hardly get more horrible. But at the same time, the very least we can do is to make damn well sure each and every one of these women is heard and counted. So, 46? God damn. Forty-six.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:45 PM on July 26, 2015 [26 favorites]


That empty chair. Jesus. What a powerful image, how brave the women are.

/christwhatanasshole
posted by ApathyGirl at 7:52 PM on July 26, 2015


When I was a kid I remember thinking, "Someday I will live in a world where Bill Cosby is no longer alive," and that kind of blew my mind. I'd have had an aneurysm if I'd known I'd live in a world where he is a remorseless sexual predator.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:55 PM on July 26, 2015 [7 favorites]




How many more of Cosby's victims are out there? Hundreds? A few thousand, perhaps?

(78 - 15) * 365 = 22,995. I think that's a reasonably hard upper bound.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:58 PM on July 26, 2015


The stories are sickening. One woman said Cosby offered her a pill, saying it would "make her feel good", and she took it because her son had just died. Then she wakes up in hotel room to Cosby assaulting her unconscious friend, and then watches him come over and rape her but she's so incapacitated she can't move to get away or even speak in protest. What a nightmare. What a fucking evil man.
posted by schroedinger at 8:00 PM on July 26, 2015 [73 favorites]


Then she wakes up in hotel room to Cosby assaulting her unconscious friend,

Well, we've just violated my assumption of "one woman per night". Blugh, blugh, blugh.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:03 PM on July 26, 2015


Also, I want to say that I very much like the magazine's choice of putting the woman all in white, and I take heart in the generally optimistic tone that the article strikes about how at least we're now in a world where stories like this can come to light and be accepted. Let's keep on making things better.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:05 PM on July 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


And at least one of the women was 17 when she was assaulted.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:09 PM on July 26, 2015


His total lack of remorse or empathy

That's how this kind of thing works. I always want the people who have wronged and hurt me to acknowledge what they did to me and apologize for it and perhaps make some amends if that's appropriate, because it would make it easier for me to put the matter behind me. It hardly ever happens. Such people deny any wrongdoing and are furious when the matter gets mentioned. They really feel entitled to do what they've done, to never have to apologize or be held responsible for it, to tell those they've hurt that they should be over it, and to get to move on in their lives with no consequences. The problem is, if they were the sort of person who had the capacity to understand why such behaviour was wrong and how much it would hurt others, they wouldn't have done it in the first place.
posted by orange swan at 8:13 PM on July 26, 2015 [41 favorites]


I have a novel which has recently been agented and is seeking a publisher. An entirely incidental element in that book was one character having sanded a 10' by 10' likeness of Bill Cosby into her floor. In the most recent draft, that has been changed to Hulk Hogan.

It is my hope that, to the degree possible, his legacy is erased, except for the cautionary parts. Hopefully we can do this without also setting back any of the advancements he made for race relations in the U.S.
posted by 256 at 8:27 PM on July 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Best magazine cover I've ever seen. Photography by Amanda Demme and writing by Noreen Malone.

All those STRONG heroic beautiful angry righteous women. Fuck you, Bill Cosby. If there is justice in this world, you will rot the rest of your years away in jail.
“I went online one morning, just to check my email. The Yahoo page came up, and there was something about Cosby, this thing with Hannibal Buress. And all of a sudden, something just hit me. Anger. Son of a bitch! You know, a woman can be not believed for 30 years. But it takes one man? To make a joke about it? That fucking pissed me off so bad. Suddenly I’m thinking, Who do I contact?” —Victoria Valentino
I am just so damn sorry.
posted by sallybrown at 8:31 PM on July 26, 2015 [57 favorites]


“When I see a Jell-O pudding, it comes flooding back. Bill Cosby, that encounter, that one time, played a major factor in the direction my life took, toward the dark side.” —Sammie Mays

He was everywhere for years.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:33 PM on July 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


An entirely incidental element in that book was one character having sanded a 10' by 10' likeness of Bill Cosby into her floor. In the most recent draft, that has been changed to Hulk Hogan.

...you might want to change it again.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:34 PM on July 26, 2015 [55 favorites]


A 1:1 comparison of horribleness is obviously impossible, but is it reasonable to consider Cosby to be America's Jimmy Saville?
posted by Going To Maine at 8:41 PM on July 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cosby was just everywhere when I was growing up and I was a big fan. Fat Albert cartoons. The comedy albums. I Spy reruns. The Electric Company. Jello commercials. Those Uptown Saturday Night movies. It hurts my brain to shift all those memories now, knowing now what a monster was and is.
posted by octothorpe at 8:56 PM on July 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


is it reasonable to consider Cosby to be America's Jimmy Saville?
[Jimmy Savile]

I was struck by the similarities, myself. In both cases you had a beloved performer who basically joked about raping people; who was known to be a rapist but who was shielded by his staff and producers; who was a notorious "seducer" but given a pass. Saville was probably more blatant than Cosby, but the allegations against Cosby have been known for a decade and we still kept treating him like America's favorite uncle.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:59 PM on July 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


Fuck. I had to stop reading the accounts after the fifth or sixth one. How horrific. Amazing work by the magazine and all the love in the world to these women for what they went through, from the assault to what it took to speak out. I'm too dumbfounded to say anything else.
posted by dry white toast at 9:05 PM on July 26, 2015


Here's an interesting speculation, given how often Cosby seems to have used the same modus operendi. Someone just posted a comment on the NY Mag's website noting the danger of combining qualudes and alcohol and then goes on to wonder whether anyone died as a result of Cosby's actions. The writer suggests that police review their files on those kinds of deaths to see if any links can be drawn. I hope they do inventory pertinent cold cases.
posted by carmicha at 9:07 PM on July 26, 2015 [48 favorites]


I was stunned earlier this month when people remembered this was all actually in an episode of THE COSBY SHOW.
posted by gerryblog at 9:10 PM on July 26, 2015 [19 favorites]


And he consistently and repeatedly took on the mantle of role model. Role model for men. Jesus.
posted by amanda at 9:14 PM on July 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I had been hoping a journalist would do this. As Cosby will never be held accountable criminally, gathering as many testimonies as possible and publishing them is the only way these women are going see any sort of justice. At the very least, it's pleasing to me that Cosby is alive to watch his legacy go to hell.

What I want to know -- but likely won't due to the nature of libel -- is who was helping Cosby? There had to have been people in his management team or at NBC who were cleaning up after him, by threatening victims to stay quiet and pressuring reporters to kill stories. Those talent agents who were sending him women, what did they know?
posted by riruro at 9:17 PM on July 26, 2015 [27 favorites]


I honestly have trouble with this. On the one hand, it's obviously a good thing to give these women a voice. I am not in any way trying to dispute that. But… but…

I can't help but feel that predominately white media outlets are suddenly being a little too cooperative when the assailant is black and a significant portion of the victims are rich and white. One of the craziest things about living/working in LA is this: you start to feel like everything you've ever heard is true, plus more. So I just keep looking at this and wondering, is this really about doing right by the victims? Are we ready to kill our darlings and publish portraits of their victims if they… let's say… produce smarty-pants Oscar-buzz films? Direct summertime blockbuster nerdfests? If their standup punches down and seems self-aware? What if the victims are poor, or if they aren't white, or if they're not cisgender women? What then? Or will that be another difficult question about separating the art from the artist? Because Woody Allen has a Netflix deal.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 9:28 PM on July 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


And at least one of the women was 17 when she was assaulted.

The Whoopi-Polanski defence suggests that at that age it can't be "rape rape".

All of this is so gross. Apparently he also wants the "hush" money back from one of the women he raped.

The sad thing is he's got enough money to hire lawyers good enough to keep him out of jail for some nonsense mythical reason. Whereas young black kids are getting shot every day over nothing. Not saying he should be shot, but, well.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:29 PM on July 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just got out of the hospital for a severe PTSD flare up after running into my abuser for the first time in twenty years. Remorse played no part in our interaction. I can't imagine the hell of seeing my abuser everywhere I turned let alone lauded as an ideal father figure for decades. These women are strong as hell.
posted by kanata at 9:40 PM on July 26, 2015 [63 favorites]


I can't help but feel that predominately white media outlets are suddenly being a little too cooperative when the assailant is black and a significant portion of the victims are rich and white.

What? The allegations have been out there publicly for at least a decade. There have been multiple stories about how everybody ignores the allegations against this lovable icon. And now, a decade later, when we have 46 (!) publicly-identified victims, you want to ask whether the media outlets are being too cooperative? Where were they ten years ago?!
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:41 PM on July 26, 2015 [55 favorites]


Hideous. The oldest victim in this story is eighty, which hammers home for me just how long he has gotten away with this.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:44 PM on July 26, 2015 [12 favorites]


The amount of power it took to have work like the Spanish Fly from the late 60s, or stories like this from the late 70s, or 14 people suing in the 90s ignored, 50 plus years of ostriches--and c/c this w/ Holly Madison's recent press before her memoir is released, where she talked about Hefner using ludes as late as 2012, and Hef/Cos being best friends. The culture of power in this space...
posted by PinkMoose at 9:47 PM on July 26, 2015 [14 favorites]


Comparatively, yes. Without getting too derailed, I think this is what really cooperative looks like when uncooperative ranges from Bryan Singer's media coverage to an ad-hoc industry warning system that operates on a need-to-know-basis.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 9:53 PM on July 26, 2015


Repeated stories of the agent(s) of these women linking them up with Cosby or Cosby's agent arranging these meetings. I'm sure they are all comparing names but I wouldn't mind seeing a longer list of rape conspirators added to civil suits. What the hell is wrong with people?!
posted by amanda at 9:56 PM on July 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


Recently a former elementary school classmate of mine, who is now an elected official in an Ontario town, was accused of sexual harassment of, and abusive conduct towards, a member of staff. (No names mentioned and if anyone should decide to go sleuthing please don't speculate in this thread.) The allegations weren't serious enough to warrant criminal charges so the police have not been called, but an external investigator was hired, and when her conclusion was that the allegations were probably correct, the matter was referred to the Ontario integrity commissioner. My classmate has been suspended from office for the time being and ordered to take anti-harassment classes. The first I heard about this was when my former classmate posted a statement to his Facebook page about it, claiming he was innocent of all charges, that the town's investigation was unfair and flawed and intended to harm him and his family, and that there those who were trying to stop him from representing his electorate's interests, that he'd been the subject of escalating attacks on his character for the past year, that it was all intended to humiliate him. He vowed to take the matter to court to "fight for justice".

So I got something along the lines of a Cosby cast experience. I found myself disinclined to believe the allegations at first, because my former classmate really does not seem like the type to do this at all (another mutual classmate of ours said the same when I spoke to him about it). Then I reminded myself that I don't know what happened, that for that matter I really don't know my classmate that well at all, that such allegations are hardly ever false, and that the "everyone is out to get me" narrative is REALLY suspect. I mean, seriously? Everyone's trying to bring the guy down because he wants to keep taxes low and they'll accuse of him of something they know him to be innocent of to do it? That's sociopathic, and it is highly unlikely that this town's government is run by a team of conspiring sociopaths. I searched online for more information and read a couple of news articles. I looked on Twitter, not only at his account but his mentions. Now I think my classmate may have been in the wrong and behaved inappropriately in a relatively minor way and is refusing to see it.... but I still don't know and am waiting for more information to come out.

It's been an interesting experience having someone I know be accused of such behaviour. I'm embarrassed to think that there was a moment when I almost dismissed the allegations before I stopped myself and started weighing the evidence. That will to not believe can be stronger than one expects. My classmate does have only one accuser, though. My willingness to give the accuser the benefit of the doubt ends when there are 2 or more accusers, let alone 46.
posted by orange swan at 9:57 PM on July 26, 2015 [11 favorites]


predominately white media outlets are suddenly being a little too cooperative when the assailant is black and a significant portion of the victims are rich and white

Thin Lizzy, although I'd agree that this is generally true (although I'm not aware of many recent cases where there were multiple victims) and it is I suppose possible there's a racial slant to some of the coverage (though I haven't seen it, although I haven't been looking), I think that analysis might be premature in this instance. He was a cultural icon for generations, presenting himself as a moral compass; the sheer number of victims is hard to comprehend -- it's just enormous in terms of dissonance, scale, impact.

And so much about women's experience has been made explicit and entered wider public consciousness over just the past couple of years -- I think there's now at least marginally more of a willingness to entertain the idea that women possibly aren't inherently duplicitous when it comes to their stories of rape, abuse, and assault, especially in the wake of the recent Saville and Ghomeshi scandals, which have also opened our eyes to the systems that supported their actions.

Your suggestion feels like a bit of a reach, in other words, unless there's more than that cover to make the point.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:39 PM on July 26, 2015 [11 favorites]


Looks like this article broke nymag.com entirely as of 11:10 PT.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:10 PM on July 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


dry white toast: "all the love in the world to these women"
Yup.
posted by chapps at 11:11 PM on July 26, 2015


I want to personally find every single person who doubted and pooh poohed and nitpicked and victim blamed and slap each and every one of them across the face forty six times.

There were a lot in the past three threads about this. I hope they are fucking ashamed.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:25 PM on July 26, 2015 [24 favorites]


Someone shared the Entertainment Weekly article about this on Facebook. The headline: 35 of Bill Cosby's accusers appear on the cover of New York Magazine.

The word is 'victims,' you dumb fucks.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:33 PM on July 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Or, on reflection, 'survivors.')
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:34 PM on July 26, 2015 [17 favorites]


I don't think it's premature to believe race would be a major factor in crime reporting, particularly if we're talking about sex crimes involving a black man and white women. It seems dangerously naive to think that it wouldn't, even if the man is obviously guilty.
Like I said, I'm torn. I want to support the victims but I also want to know how great the coverage will be when the narrative doesn't align with a racist one. In the past the coverage has been terrible or non-existent. I'm just asking if this is really a new, better age of rape reporting or the same old same old sneaking in.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 12:01 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cosby has been getting away with these rapes for decades. For this white person (so yeah, maybe I have a blind spot here), I don't see any racial bias in this reporting. He is/was an absolutely enormous figure, all-pervasive on the cultural landscape for a very, very long time. The bias in the reporting is the bias against assholes who commit rape. Your concern appears to be misplaced and seems to be veering--if unintentionally--into some variant of JAQing off/sea-lion territory.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:09 AM on July 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


I may be too pessimistic about how we preference the testimony of rapists over that of their victims, but I think the public didn't believe even 46 women - we just ran out of options to disbelieve them when AP sued to open Cosby's own deposition three weeks ago.
posted by gingerest at 12:30 AM on July 27, 2015 [24 favorites]


It's very possible that there are some white high profile entertainers whose abuse has been ignored, just as Cosby's was ignored for so long. I can say that there have been abusive high profile entertainers in the UK and Australia who were eventually prosecuted (in Savile's case via the media, because he was dead), so at least it's not "literally nobody in the entire world unless they're black". And even if it were, at some point you have to support prosecution, even if it's racially motivated.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:46 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


is it reasonable to consider Cosby to be America's Jimmy Saville?
[Jimmy Savile]


Apart from the avuncular public persona and the similarities in the patterns of abuse and cover-up there is also a similarity in terms of cultural aftermath. Savile was also somebody who appeared across all media and who used to hang out with all the other celebrities in the realms of charity, radio, television, politics and royalty. To British people there is now a vast swathe of culture from several decades which is now tainted by its association with him: something to be edited out, recalled as unpleasant memory or out there as full on trigger material. If your TV uncle turned out to be an abuser then it does feel a little bit like it was a family affair.
posted by rongorongo at 2:59 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Archive.org got a snapshot of the article before NYMag's site crashed (and is still down, as of when I post this).
posted by crysflame at 3:10 AM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Thin Lizzy, this is not on the same racist scale as the persistent demonizing of Chris Brown while everyone conveniently forgets about Sean Penn's past behavior.

Bill Cosby was not just a one-time rapist. He is potentially one of the most persistent offenders in history. His methods were to render his victims totally unconscious and he had the routine down to a science. Read these testimonies and tell me there are not possibly hundreds of victims out there, many of whom probably have no memory of what happened. He is like the mythical Dracula.

It is crime on a monstrous level, akin to discovering a beloved cultural figure was actually a serial killer.

Futher, while he was certainly a source of cultural pride for the black community, he was also a longtime hectoring force for victim blaming the black community for creating their own problems because they didn't pull their pants up. The pound cake speech made him a hated figure in many parts of the black community. In a lot of ways he was more the white community's idealized figure of what a famous black man should be.

And frankly to dismiss these women's experiences (which really happened to them, which strongly impacted the rest of their lives, their abilities to love and trust partners, their mental health for decades) on that basis comes off as prioritizing a wrongly-applied principle over actual, visceral pain. It shouldn't be so easy to do that.
posted by sallybrown at 4:05 AM on July 27, 2015 [48 favorites]


Foreigner's perspective: extraordinary to see such a large group of linked allegations appear in a magazine rather than as court testimony - while the accused is both still alive and at liberty.
posted by rongorongo at 4:35 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


extraordinary to see such a large group of linked allegations appear in a magazine rather than as court testimony

The USA has a criminal statute of limitations on most crimes (bar murder), unlike the UK where there is no statute of limitations on serious sexual offences (which is why Max Clifford and Rolf Harris may die in prison but Cosby is going to remain a free man, regardless of what happens).
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 4:43 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


The pound cake speech made him a hated figure in many parts of the black community. In a lot of ways he was more the white community's idealized figure of what a famous black man should be.

The Pound Cake speech.

TNC's thoughts on it. I think he'd be a lot more sceptical today.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:21 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want to personally find every single person who doubted and pooh poohed and nitpicked and victim blamed and slap each and every one of them across the face forty six times.

The horrible part of this is that I don't often seen a dramatic change in tune from these people. Just goal post shifting and backpedaling of what their stance previously was.

Possibly because I am a masochist, I read comments on articles - serial defenders of Cosby (at least on Washpo) have moved from "who is this lying woman and her profit motive" to "look at these lying women and their conspiracy to bring down a great man," to now, in the face of overwhelming evidence and Cosby himself admitting to the acts to something along the lines of "Cosby is an immoral man who cheated on his wife with these willing women, but he is not a rapist."

It's not unlike climate change denials, who went from "al gore is profiting off of these lies and there is no evidence whatsoever of climate change/the science is still unsettled" to "well we've always known the climate is changing, we just don't know if it's man-made."
posted by Karaage at 5:25 AM on July 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


He admitted it in a 1969 monologue, "Spanish Fly", and America got a big Laugh.

And that's why rape jokes aren't funny.
posted by stoneweaver at 5:28 AM on July 27, 2015 [52 favorites]


I think, with Jimmy Savile, part of the horror was complicity (in cover-up but also in facilitating his access) by really trusted beloved institutions -- the BBC, the NHS, politicians and the royal family (I guess beloved and trusted doesn't necessarily hold for the last two). There must have been a level of cover-up with Crosby too. I hope there is a systematic investigation not just of the man but of the context that allowed him to get away with it for so long.
posted by Aravis76 at 6:00 AM on July 27, 2015


jenfullmoon: "Looks like this article broke nymag.com entirely as of 11:10 PT."

Still broken. I had to read it by way of the Internet Archive.
posted by Samizdata at 6:13 AM on July 27, 2015


It's official: the site's been hacked.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 6:19 AM on July 27, 2015


I'd be glad if the following becomes the most lasting legacy of this man.

COSBY

transitive verb

to cosby, cosbied

to secretly administer a drug or other substance to another person to render the person helpless, usu. for the purpose of sexual activity without consent

Examples: "She got cosbied on a date last year and now she won't date anyone at all." "What?! This is flavor powder, I'm not trying to cosby you."
posted by jfwlucy at 6:20 AM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


The USA has a criminal statute of limitations on most crimes (bar murder), unlike the UK where there is no statute of limitations on serious sexual offences (which is why Max Clifford and Rolf Harris may die in prison but Cosby is going to remain a free man, regardless of what happens).

The reason for the statute of limitations. When criminal prosecutions were based primarily on personal testimony, after a certain amount of time, that testimony becomes less reliable. Memory fades, faces change. Can I for certain say that person on the stand was the person who mugged that other person 11 years ago?

Given the weakness we know exist in eyewitness testimony -- I can't be certain of that *one week* ago -- 11 years ago? Hell no. So, in a time when that was pretty much the sole means of convicting someone, the point of the statute of limitations was that if you couldn't get the conviction within a certain number of times, it became *impossible* to get a conviction "without a reasonable doubt" -- time itself created reasonable doubt. In the US, many states considered some crimes so horrific that they were willing to accept the risk and void the statue of limitations. Now we have other technology, but it's not a magic bullet either -- DNA evidence, while useful, is not the magic answer that TV shows make it out to be, and what it usually does is prove the accused is certainly innocent, not certainly guilty. Actually, what it really usually proves is that the accused was certainly absent, though in sexual offenses, it sometimes disproves more or strongly suggests guilt.

I say "suggests" because they almost never (and I want to say never, but I might be wrong nowadays) actually do a full DNA sequence that would *absolutely* prove that DNA came from that *and only* that person. It's far easier to disprove than prove with DNA evidence. You need everything to match to prove, you need only one mismatch to disprove.

in the UK, they consider sexual crimes like this. No other country in Europe does.

What's right? That's a long debate that hasn't been solved here and won't be solved anytime soon. What's your tolerance for false positives (convicting the innocent) and false negatives (not convicting the guilty?) If you'd rather not convict the innocent and are willing to let some guilty go, you bias towards shorter statutes of limitations on all crimes. If you'd rather convict the guilty and are willing to convict some innocents, you don't want statutes of limitations at all.

If you *only* want to convict the guilty and never convict the innocent, well, so do well all.
posted by eriko at 6:23 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


jenfullmoon: "Looks like this article broke nymag.com entirely as of 11:10 PT."

Somebody claiming "to hate NYC" is running a DDOS against the website, so they're down until their provider can figure out how to mitigate that or until the attacker gives up.
posted by eriko at 6:25 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Someone shared the Entertainment Weekly article about this on Facebook. The headline: 35 of Bill Cosby's accusers appear on the cover of New York Magazine.

The word is 'victims,' you dumb fucks.
"

I am going to agree to disagree, regardless of my own feelings in the matter about his guilt. Until he has been proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, they should be referred to as accusers. If a number of women accused you of such acts, would you want us to judge you guilty on solely unbinding testimony?

(Once again, I am not saying I don't believe them, but that he should have his chance to formally prove his innocence before we start throwing stones.)
posted by Samizdata at 6:26 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Far be it from me to be pendantic about drink adulterants, but Spanish Fly was marketed as an aphrodisiac, not a tranquilizing agent. The theory being that the irritating of the urogenital tract would somehow incite sexual desire.
posted by dr_dank at 6:26 AM on July 27, 2015


Until he has been proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, they should be referred to as accusers.

Nah. He's never going to see the inside of a courtroom. Legally? Sure, 'accusers.' In the real world? Survivors and/or victims.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:30 AM on July 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


FFFM, publications do have to be careful not to use actionable language. Cosby's still siccing his team of lawyers on everyone he can. Yes, almost no one doubts that Cosby is guilty and that his accusers are victims, and Cosby can hardly go after every Twitter user and blogger, which is why we can use whatever terms we see fit here on Metafilter. But it is still a legal and practical necessity for corporate media outlets to use legally circumspect language.
posted by orange swan at 6:38 AM on July 27, 2015 [22 favorites]


It seems to me that in a journalistic reporting on the story, the word "accusers" is the right one to use, but a columnist or editorial writer could use the work "victim".

Not that I can go see it for myself now since the site's still under attack.
posted by beau jackson at 6:41 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I get the legal niceties thanks. They piss me off.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:45 AM on July 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


"What?! This is flavor powder, I'm not trying to cosby you."

Somewhat of an aside, I wonder if those flavor drop thingies are seeing or saw a sales hit because of this and other factors. "Hmm, do I trust a guy with one of those?"

Hmm: "Flavor" drop thingy with no actual flavor, but changes color if someone has roofied a drink. "Oh, I just like a little extra lemon flavor" (drink turns black) "asshole." (dumps drink on shirt, shirt and skin dissolves, revealing alien flesh.)

Okay, that last part was a little over the top.
posted by eriko at 6:46 AM on July 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


I wonder if there are any assaults that occurred in countries that don't have a statute of limitations. If someone were to come forward, could a criminal change be possible?
posted by beau jackson at 6:46 AM on July 27, 2015


I'm unconvinced that an absolute time bar, under a statute of limitations, is the best way of dealing with the problem of loss of evidence as a result of the passage of time. Surely it's possible for the prosecuting authority to take the passage of time into account when deciding whether there's enough evidence to go to trial in the particular case? And then a jury gets to decide, also taking the passage of time into account. If there's one witness, and a reasonable doubt on whether she remembers the face of the person she's accusing, maybe it's not worth prosecuting or there won't be a conviction. If there are 46 witnesses, and the identity of the accused is crystal clear, it's different. At minimum, a prosecutor should get to evaluate the evidence and make a call. That seems fairer than applying a time bar that means you can never prosecute, however overwhelming the evidence.

If the offence is relatively minor, then maybe there's a different sword of Damocles type argument for having a limitation period. The state should have prosecuted years ago and didn't, the accused has moved on with his life and relied on the state's inaction, and it's not fair to suddenly turn around and prosecute. To my mind, that argument works but it works for traffic violations and minor drug possession charges not crimes of violence like rape.
posted by Aravis76 at 6:53 AM on July 27, 2015


Hmm: "Flavor" drop thingy with no actual flavor, but changes color if someone has roofied a drink.

There are plenty of such kits on the market.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:54 AM on July 27, 2015


For this white person (so yeah, maybe I have a blind spot here), I don't see any racial bias in this reporting.

It isn't the reporting, exactly, it's that the two big stories like this (Cosby, Ghomeshi) are about non-white men assaulting women (not limited to, but including, white women), and I find it SUPER HARD to believe that there aren't as many stories still being covered up about famous white guys.

I do think this story is true; I do think it should be reported on. I don't think these women are going after him for any reason than because he assaulted them. (And the same with Ghomeshi.)
posted by jeather at 6:56 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


The stories are all horrifying, but the one that made me especially sick was the one where Cosby dosed the woman (after using the "we're friends! I would never hurt you! Trust me!" line), but she woke up naked in bed with one of his friends, who was laughing at her after having raped her. Cosby didn’t even try to keep it secret. He was proud, and he “shared” with his buddies.

No wonder rapists think all men are rapists. He passed around women like candy, he knew a gynecologist who would happily keep him supplied with drugs so that he could feed them to women, and he had agents and drivers and managers who worked as his procurement agents. No wonder he's so baffled that anyone is calling him a criminal. He spent his life surrounded by people who not only thought he was normal, but were more than happy to participate in his monstrous crimes.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:02 AM on July 27, 2015 [38 favorites]


When I think about ways to change the way we prosecute sexual assault cases (because clearly when the conviction rate is so abysmal something needs to change), I keep wondering if it wouldn't be possible to try sexual assault cases as a class action. As things stand, each case is tried on its individual merits and when it comes down to it being a matter of he said, she said, and other existing allegations are not admissible so he generally gets the benefit of the doubt. Isn't there some way for us to turn those cases into a he said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said (and I could go on but you get the point) situation in which the judge or jury must consider the total body of evidence against the accused?
posted by orange swan at 7:02 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


If a number of women accused you of such acts, would you want us to judge you guilty on solely unbinding testimony?

(Once again, I am not saying I don't believe them, but that he should have his chance to formally prove his innocence before we start throwing stones.)


A. In the US, trials are not for defendants to prove their innocence since they have no such duty; they're for the prosecution to prove the defendant guilty.

B. We are not jury members or officers of the court, and this is not a trial. We can think whatever the hell we like of Cosby. He admitted in a sworn deposition that he routinely administered Quaaludes to women and then had non-consensual sex with them while they were impaired. So yeah, I'm personally just fine with calling him a longterm serial rapist, but it's OK if you're not.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:03 AM on July 27, 2015 [32 favorites]


Google Cache of the original article
posted by chara at 7:06 AM on July 27, 2015




I'm trying to figure out what stones I am throwing by saying that I believe all these women who say Cosby drugged and assaulted and raped them. What stones are those.
posted by rtha at 7:43 AM on July 27, 2015 [31 favorites]


Hmm: "Flavor" drop thingy with no actual flavor, but changes color if someone has roofied a drink.

There's also a fingernail polish or top coat that enables a woman to subtly test her drink. I believe it also changes color.
posted by carmicha at 7:51 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


[added the Internet Archive link to the post]
posted by taz (staff) at 7:53 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


FFFM, publications do have to be careful not to use actionable language.

In the US, for a publication, there's a legal bright line to avoid a libel lawsuit. If you say accused when someone has not been convicted by a court, you are *not* saying that they have certainly done something and cannot be successfully be sued for stating such. Saying that he *did* it without ironclad proof that he did -- as in "can be convicted in a criminal court proof that he did" -- is leaving you wide open to a libel lawsuit that would just make him look innocent. It's not worth that. Far better to say accused.

So everybody does that. Unless/until a court pronounces a guilty verdict or accepts a guilty plea, or Cosby admits to a publication that he did this, they're going to say "accused" simply because it's an ironclad defense against libel. There's far too much caselaw here.

Here, The New York Magazine can print this, because 1) They believe this to be true and 2) arguably, they're not making the accusation, the women are. But they'd still be accessory to libel if Cosby wanted to bring this to court. I suspect he won't, because, again, in the US, truth is an absolute defense to libel, and the only thing they're asserting is that these women are accusing Cosby. That's easy to prove -- call them to the stand. Did you accuse him? "Yes, your honor." And done. They might have enough actually prove he did in fact rape them, which would be deadly to Cosby, because then that same proof shows up in the lawsuits that get filed about 30 seconds later.

Which is why you will almost certainly *not* see Bill Cosby filing a libel lawsuit against The New York Magazine. Very little upside, huge downside. The accusations are already out there and not going away. Winning the suit won't make them go away. Losing the suit would basically declare him guilty in the public's mind and leave him wide open to many civil lawsuits.

This, BTW, is one of the few cases where you have to prove your "innocence" -- "I'm accusing you of defaming me." "Nope, you are in fact a serial rapist, here's the proof." "Yep, you are. Case dismissed." It's not unconstitutional because libel is a civil action, not criminal.

I keep wondering if it wouldn't be possible to try sexual assault cases as a class action.

In the US, a class action is a civil, not a criminal action. But I recall that class actions only can be filed against corporations, not against individuals.

There's also the fact that we keep finding out about victims all the time, and we don't know when this stopped. There may well be victims more recent, ones within the statute of limitations, if true, and if they press charges, then he may well end up in criminal court.

Yes, there are many "ifs" there.

In the US, trials are not for defendants to prove their innocence since they have no such duty; they're for the prosecution to prove the defendant guilty.

Criminal trials, otherwise, yes. In civil trials, the plaintiff needs to prove they have been wronged, in at least some way, and even partially wronged can be enough to get some relief.

We are not jury members or officers of the court, and this is not a trial. We can think whatever the hell we like of Cosby

Exactly.
posted by eriko at 7:59 AM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]




having a drug testing kit in your purse would not have helped the women who knowingly took a pill because they trusted him.

well-intentioned products like anti-rape nail polish can actually end up fueling victim blaming. Any college students who don’t use the special polish could open themselves up to criticism for failing to do everything in their power to prevent rape.

it would not have changed the minds of people who think 40+ women are making it up "for the money", who cry "innocent until proven guilty" in any casual discussion, etc etc. to be clear i'm not against tools to help women, but we should remember the problem is rapists and their rape culture supporters. this has always been the problem. (also, alcohol works great by itself as The date rape drug. "oh but she was drinking?" *nods knowingly*)

the vast majority of those assaults don’t involve date rape drugs in the first place. According to a 2007 study from the National Institute for Justice, just about 2.4 percent of female undergrads who had been sexually assaulted suspected they had been slipped a drug.
posted by twist my arm at 8:13 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Times has some info on the attack that took down the magazine's website.
"In an interview with the website Daily Dot, the hacker, also known as ThreatKing, said the attack was based on a hatred for New York, and was not related to the cover that features Mr. Cosby’s accusers.

“I have not even seen the cover, LOL,” he told the website over Skype on Monday.

With that, a piece that the magazine said had took six months of work to produce was wiped from the Internet. As they worked to restore its website, editors was working to find other ways to publish the piece, which is based on in-depth interviews with women who for years refrained from going public with their accusations against Mr. Cosby. On Monday morning, the magazine began posting audio related to the cover article on Instagram.
Three have been posted so far: 1, 2, 3.
posted by zarq at 8:26 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


The site seems to be back up and running, but intermittently and with quite a bit of lag.
posted by zarq at 8:30 AM on July 27, 2015


Saying that he *did* it without ironclad proof that he did -- as in "can be convicted in a criminal court proof that he did" -- is leaving you wide open to a libel lawsuit that would just make him look innocent.

Cosby is a public figure, so he would have to show not only that the statements were false but that the publisher acted with "actual malice," which approximately seems to require an actual paper trail of statements to the effect of "We know this is false but will publish it anyway" or "We don't care whether this is true or false, we're going to publish it anyway."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:37 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anonymous hacker hates the entire city of New York, so he takes down New York Magazine, coincidentally the same day they post a major article implicating an incredibly powerful and wealthy person and his entourage in decades of horrifying rapes? Sure ok
posted by theodolite at 8:45 AM on July 27, 2015 [34 favorites]


One woman said Cosby offered her a pill, saying it would "make her feel good", and she took it because her son had just died.

In this regard, President Obama's legal description of rape should be expanded to “If you give a woman — or a man, for that matter — without his or her knowledge a drug, or misrepresent a drug given to him or her, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape.”

It seems that Cosby's legal team is trying to weasel out of culpability by claiming that the majority of victims consciously and voluntarily accepted the pill, because, in the context of the era (and in Cosby's words), swallowing a Quaalude was the equivalent of taking a drink. But in many instances, he was more of a Doctor Feelgood, offering mysterious potions whose identities he actively concealed, than a responsible Doctor Huxtable concerned with full disclosure and the welfare of his patient.
posted by Gordion Knott at 8:47 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anonymous hacker hates the entire city of New York, so he takes down New York Magazine, coincidentally the same day they post a major article implicating an incredibly powerful and wealthy person and his entourage in decades of horrifying rapes? Sure ok

Honestly, yes. The world is weird these days.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:47 AM on July 27, 2015


I am going to agree to disagree, regardless of my own feelings in the matter about his guilt. Until he has been proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, they should be referred to as accusers. If a number of women accused you of such acts, would you want us to judge you guilty on solely unbinding testimony?

Is the fact that he admitted in a sworn deposition to acquiring sedatives with the intent of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with, and the fact that he gave sedatives to at least one woman sufficient to call her a victim?

I'm going to guess it's not sufficient for you because you've already set goalposts that are next to impossible to achieve for these victims given the statute of limitations of these crimes.
posted by Karaage at 8:47 AM on July 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


Anonymous hacker hates the entire city of New York, so he takes down New York Magazine, coincidentally the same day they post a major article implicating an incredibly powerful and wealthy person and his entourage in decades of horrifying rapes? Sure ok

Yeah, I'd be surprised if there wasn't more going on there too, theodolite. Regardless of what his motives might be, I hope the idiot responsible has to face some significant legal consequences for the hack. The guy is way past due to be smacked in the face by a clue-by-four.
posted by orange swan at 8:51 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I keep thinking about a stand-up comedian's itinerant lifestyle--moving from town to town, repeated encounters with starstruck fans, etc.--and how there may be victims all over America the world who will now feel emboldened to come forward. And returning to my earlier comment about alcohol + qualudes = overdose risk, maybe some retired police officer in a small college town will put together the night s/he answered a call about a young woman's death with Cosby performing at the campus auditorium. That would have been a busy night.
posted by carmicha at 9:04 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Doctor Huxtable the gynecologist ffs
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:43 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I suppose possible there's a racial slant to some of the coverage (though I haven't seen it, although I haven't been looking)

There's an interesting discussion to be had about the visual rhetoric of the cover and the women's photos within the article. I mean, it's obvious that the "black / white" exterior and "white-on-white" interior color scheme is not even slightly intended to be about race; it clearly is meant to have other associations: with simplicity, clearcutness (message: this is not a "shades of gray" situation; the facts are clear and straightforward to anyone who cares to see them), etc.

In the inside photos, the women all being dressed in white with markedly pale shimmery makeup before white backgrounds (and possibly some lightening photo processing? Or not? I'm a photography moron) suggests innocence, righteousness, dignity, vulnerability, and moral probity. It's very powerful, almost a visual apology to the women for all the harm, reproach, character assassination, doubt, and contempt that's been heaped upon them for decades -- although there's also a potentially troubling reading of "we need to swathe these women in images of virginity in order for them to be believed."

But on a purely unintentional metaphoric almost subliminal level, if you scroll down the whole thing, that's a whole lot of white. It's like a portrait of a big long crime against whiteness.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:49 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Women are telling their personal stories using #theEmptyChair
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:51 AM on July 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


Apparently he also wants the "hush" money back from one of the women he raped.

Would it be possible to start a mass class-action lawsuit to recollect back from him all the money everyone has spent on concerts, books, albums, etc. over the years? I suspect if we get enough people it'd be a bigger hit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:52 AM on July 27, 2015






NY Mag also continues to post audio on Instagram, at both NYMag and The Cut

Joyce Emmons
Barbara Bowman
Janice Dickinson
Louisa Moritz
Victoria Valentino
posted by zarq at 10:05 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing I'm having the hardest time processing, is how completely unnecessary this was, how sick. He was wealthy, famous, beloved. He worked in an industry where one night stands and groupies were easily findable. He hung out at the Playboy Mansion. I'm certain there were plenty of women who would have loved to sleep with him on whatever terms he chose. The fact that he didn't do any damage control with the women he victimized when they caught him in the act suggests that he didn't really care all that much about the 'husband and father' persona. It really suggests that he got off on being as loathsome as possible. I just - can't wrap my head around that.
posted by Mchelly at 10:09 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Rape is about power. Not impulsive sexual desire.
posted by zarq at 10:15 AM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


The thing I'm having the hardest time processing, is how completely unnecessary this was, how sick. He was wealthy, famous, beloved. He worked in an industry where one night stands and groupies were easily findable. He hung out at the Playboy Mansion. I'm certain there were plenty of women who would have loved to sleep with him on whatever terms he chose.

This case is pretty much the perfect illustration of rape being about power, control, and dominance rather than sex. He didn't want to get laid; he wanted to make someone helpless and gratify himself by humiliating them in whatever way he chose.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:17 AM on July 27, 2015 [27 favorites]


It's just as likely that his monstrousness isn't about deliberate humiliation, it's about wanting a human fleshlight. No talking, no pesky need to take her comfort or wants into account. Basically what Molly did for a bit in Neuromancer.

Both are equally bad, I hasten to add, there's nothing there that's excusing him.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:20 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know - of course - and it's the only answer. But where in anyone else rape=power just follows, it's just harder for me to parse when it's Cosby. Maybe it's my age, since I remember him as far back as Picture Pages and Fat Albert, plus his albums, as well as the sitcom. Not all his standup was about rape as entertainment - most of his work (that I've heard and seen) was family positive, even woman-positive. It's not that I don't understand how/why someone would do that - even someone famous. It being Cosby just makes it so much more unfathomable to me.

Basically I bought the image. I thought - grew up assuming - he genuinely respected women (and especially strong, smart, creative women). It just makes this an added kick in the gut.
posted by Mchelly at 10:24 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Basically I bought the image. I thought - grew up assuming - he genuinely respected women (and especially strong, smart, creative women). It just makes this an added kick in the gut.

Yes. And that widely-held impression (which I shared) is no doubt a big reason why he was able to get close to his victims and then intimidate them into silence.

Everything about this is heartbreaking and enraging, but Victoria's account is especially infuriating. Her six year old son had recently died and she was in mourning when Cosby drugged and raped her.
posted by zarq at 10:34 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, if you want a human fleshlight, there is no shortage of affordable prostitutes. It HAS to be the helplessness and humiliation.
posted by jfwlucy at 10:35 AM on July 27, 2015


Here's yet another account from Salon, one not included in the NYMag piece, of Cosby drugging a woman. However, in this case, it was a woman with whom he was already involved in a consensual relationship, and she couldn't understand why he'd do such a thing when she would have readily agreed to have sex with him. For him, it's all about being able to use a woman like an inanimate toy.

This being a Salon piece, don't read the comments. I don't know why Salon sucks so much at moderating their comments, but they have been useless at it for many years now. Their comment threads are always about some good, intelligent people fighting incessantly with a few bonehead trolls who refuse either to learn something or shut the hell up.
posted by orange swan at 10:36 AM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well, if you want a human fleshlight, there is no shortage of affordable prostitutes. It HAS to be the helplessness and humiliation.

Why pay when you can get it for free is probably the thing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:37 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know what you mean, Mchelly. Looking back, there are definitely little clues to his misogyny. I remember listening to "Himself" and it was generally funny and insightful--except for this one piece in the middle where he talks about the birth of his first child, a daughter, and how he wanted a boy (sports, mainly). He goes on for quite a while about how he wanted a boy, and all the great things you can do with a boy. Then his father jokingly suggests that he blow into the baby girl to see if he can get a penis to protrude, and he "jokingly" tries to do that, and "jokes" about how he had to push her eyes back into their sockets. I remember thinking, "huh, that whole thing about a boy was sexist and weird and creepy, I wonder why they left it in in an otherwise wonderful movie."

His more recent "Far From Finished," on the Comedy Channel, is quite bitter about his wife.
posted by Melismata at 10:40 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure it's a frugality issue, fffm. I read it more as a warped sense of self and arbitrary moral line drawing (i.e. not stooping to the level of being a John) such that he can make himself think that these women were willing participants in the whole thing. His deposition implied as much, when he said he acquired the sedatives ostensibly to supply to young women who wanted to take them.

Separately I think the power dynamic here is also fundamentally different as compared to a prostitute - where he plays "mentor" to the women who have their careers on the line and arguably had a lot to lose if it became public; I'd imagine those women are easier to 'control' than someone who did it as a business transaction.
posted by Karaage at 10:47 AM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Why pay when you can get it for free is probably the thing.

I don't think that's it. A man who worked for him when he was on The Cosby Show has said that his job involved distributing money to the numerous women with whom Cosby had consensual relationships. He'd give them $2000 a month each. Let's remember that Cosby tried to buy NBC at one point and is known for giving away substantial fortunes. He had loads of money and he had no problem spending it.

And yeah, what Karaage said. Cosby had no problem paying for sex, but even he couldn't mentally justify paying for rape, and of course if a woman were to accept payment in advance in return for what he proposed to do to her, it wouldn't be rape.
posted by orange swan at 10:51 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Mchelly,

I get what you're feeling. I grew up listening to his records and the Cosby Show was a show that my whole family sat a watched together most weeks. There weren't a whole lot of shows where that happened.

A few months ago I walked into the living room and Mom and Dad were watching a re-run. Dad asked if I remembered the episode from way back when and made a few other comments about it. I told him that yes I did, but now I can't even look at the man without feeling physically ill because of what he he has done. Dad said that yes he had heard something about something but you know.....

I said that yep it's pretty bad Dad, like really, really bad. I asked if he could honestly watch the show knowing that this guy was drugging and raping a whole heck of lot of women and because people like us loved him so much he got away with it. Watch it if you want but I won't be part of it anymore and I'd hope you wouldn't want to be either. Yeah it sucks but that's reality.

I left the room and the show stayed on until the next commercial. Glad Dad decided not to watch it anymore because I really didn't want to deal with my Dad being one of the denial/excuse making people.
posted by Jalliah at 10:57 AM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Do you suppose that Ennis Cosby's murder helped inoculate Bill against the consequences of his crimes against women? I guess Bill never saw any karmic retribution in that tragedy, nor empathized with victims any better as a result, because he doesn't seemed to have stopped.
posted by carmicha at 11:02 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Basically I bought the image. I thought - grew up assuming - he genuinely respected women (and especially strong, smart, creative women). It just makes this an added kick in the gut.

Cosby himself encouraged that image, too. A decade ago, he was lecturing Black women about dancing to music which referred to them as "bitches and ho's." He was complaining that BET in particular mercilessly exploited African-American women, and promoted a culture which demeaned and degraded them. And what he said had some truth to it -- hip hop and rap culture was often misogynistic.
posted by zarq at 11:03 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cosby himself encouraged that image.

Yes, and his son's murder made him even more sympathetic.
posted by carmicha at 11:05 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it, would be pretty awesome for new outlets to just start flat-out calling him a rapist. As noted above, there is literally no upside in him fighting it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:19 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


People say these women were accusing Cosby for decades and no one believed them, but the thing is, how widely known was it? I never heard anything about Cosby being a rapist until October 2014, when I read this thread. Browsing through the list of Cosby-related MeFi FPPs prior to that, I see there's nothing about the rape allegations. I do see criticism of Cosby for his respectability politics, which I did know about and hated, but I thought of them as the ramblings of a tired old man who's accomplished a lot in his time and perhaps deserved a bit of slack. I knew about his son's tragic murder, which was no reflection on Cosby, and I knew about the whole Autumn Jackson thing, which of course wasn't great but wasn't a criminal matter. I also remembered some problematic writing on the Cosby Show, but my impression of Cosby as a fairly decent man largely remained intact because I hadn't heard anything too terrible about him.

Had I known that Cosby had multiple accusers before October 2014, I would have believed them. I never heard about the 2004 Andrea Constand case at the time. Apparently there are some negative archival profiles and interviews out there, but I had never read those either. And I wonder how many people out there thought highly of Cosby because they simply hadn't heard anything damning about him and had no reason to go looking for it. The extent to which one wealthy, well-connected man has been able to keep the truth of his real nature out of the press for decades is astounding, and Cosby also seems to have been a much more talented actor than anybody ever gave him credit for.

I doubt it's possible for anyone to keep things buried these days. No one can control social media, no matter how many lawyers they have. The dam finally burst on the Cosby story because Hannibal Buress's joke about it went viral. The whole Jian Ghomeshi story broke because of one anonymous Twitter accounts accusations. For all the harassment that social media can enable, it's a good thing that there's no keeping the jack in a million boxes when it comes to exposing abusive behaviour.
posted by orange swan at 11:43 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


If I'm not mistaken, The Jian situation broke open because he mistakenly thought that Jesse Brown was going to publish a piece about his alleged abuses, and he tried to get in front of the story with a press release and showing videos to his employers that resulted in his firing. It was a very public blow-up, before which some in private circles apparently knew about him being violent with dates, but the general public had no idea.

There is a similarity to Cosby in that he also fostered an image of someone who respected women. He minored in women's studies etc...

I remember the first Toronto Star article that anonymously quoted four women. People said "If it were true, they would publish their names...". The Lucy Decoutere came forward publicly. Actually I'm not sure how much that did to sway those who were defending Jian or arguing that we should withhold judgement whatsoever. But at least in that case the Police acted quickly and changes were laid.
posted by beau jackson at 11:56 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Deadspin has a good review of what occurred in the Costrand case.

Vulture put together a timeline of victims speaking out.

It seems like it never made bigger news prior to 2014 becase it was largely relegated to the likes of the National Enquirer which never had much credibility to start with. Combined with the fact that the case was filed under seal and eventually settled out of court, and the fact that I don't think the internet spread news the way it does now in 2004 is the reason why not a lot of people paid attention to it.
posted by Karaage at 11:59 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems like it never made bigger news prior to 2014 becase it was largely relegated to the likes of the National Enquirer

Yet another example of how women's stories are treated as sordid private affairs and relegated to tabloids. The Daily Mail is filled with stories of women murdered by intimate partners that the prestige press won't touch, even though they have no problem with saturation coverage of a man who may have been killed by his female partner.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 12:07 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, there were these obscure sources:

Today Show, February 2005.

People Magazine, December 2006.

And it was on the news - like, the evening news? which was a thing a lot of people watched still then - repeatedly between 2005 and 2007.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:16 PM on July 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


It seems like it never made bigger news prior to 2014 becase it was largely relegated to the likes of the National Enquirer

And because there weren't enough men talking about it. As Victoria Valentino understands all too well, it only takes one man to give a woman's story credibility. People immediately took Hannibal Buress' words at face value because he's a man and in stark contrast to what they assume of women, our culture does not automatically presume men are lying whenever they open their mouths. This same culture gives rise to men's ability to move through the world more freely, and with more confidence, because they can be sure they won't be dragged to hell and back simply for talking about their own lives.

Men can deliver sermons from their pulpits on behalf of women without fear that they'll lose their careers or social connections, which is something women are generally prohibited (or at least strongly discouraged) from doing for or by themselves. There are so many occasions in which a woman's words are only given any kind of weight or meaning when a man supplants her experience with his acknowledgment. If a man doesn't lend his unimpeachable credibility to her innately untrustworthy cause, anything that happens to a woman might as well not have even happened at all.

The Daily Mail is filled with stories of women murdered by intimate partners that the prestige press won't touch, even though they have no problem with saturation coverage of a man who may have been killed by his female partner.

Men kill women so often that it's usually not even newsworthy.
posted by divined by radio at 12:25 PM on July 27, 2015 [26 favorites]


People say these women were accusing Cosby for decades and no one believed them, but the thing is, how widely known was it? I never heard anything about Cosby being a rapist until October 2014, when I read this thread. Browsing through the list of Cosby-related MeFi FPPs prior to that, I see there's nothing about the rape allegations.

That's kind of exactly the point this article is making - several of these women, on earlier dates, tried to say "hey, Bill Cosby did this fucked-up thing to me", but no one paid them any attention and it never made the news. And then in 2014, another comedian made a joke about "hey, Bill Cosby has been doing these fucked up things to women for years and no one's paying any attention, isn't that just weird?" And suddenly it was national headlines.

That's the point of the article - that these 40+ women all said "hey, Bill Cosby did these fucked up things" and the media didn't do anything, but one man said "hey, Bill Cosby did these fucked up things" and that is what finally got it on the national consciousness. So what did that one man have* that those 40+ women didn't have that made his statement more credible to the media?


* Personally, I think the one thing he had was a penis, but that's the cynic in me talking.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:29 PM on July 27, 2015 [18 favorites]


At the very least, it's pleasing to me that Cosby is alive to watch his legacy go to hell.

It hasn't yet fed through to the Amzon reviews of the Cosby show, I wonder if Amazon are censoring negative reviews?
posted by Lanark at 1:05 PM on July 27, 2015


I'm a big Hannibal Burress fan. My boyfriend and I saw in him in the summer of 2013, and we are both pretty sure that he talked about Bill Cosby being a rapist at that time. I had known that Cosby was most likely a rapist before that, my boyfriend hadn't, so just a few years ago the news wasn't widely known despite previous reporting. What was most strange to us was that it was almost a year later that 'Hannibal Burress calls Bill Cosby a rapist' was in the news.

It is, of course, fucked up that this one dude who believed women moved public opinion more than the dozens of women he believed. But is also weird that it got picked up at all - I mean, 'comedian badmouths celebrity' is well within the 'dog bites man' category of news stories to me, so why then? The evidence was there in 2005, why not then?

The pessimist in me thinks that Bill Cosby just doesn't have enough friends left to keep it out of the news this time - more a symbol of his fading power than any broader social enlightenment. The optimist in me would like to think that the difference in coverage of this story between now and then is reflective of changes in how sexual assault is understood and talked about in America, mostly brought about by survivors and advocates doing tremendous work for those changes. One can hope.
posted by palindromic at 1:06 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]




...the media didn't do anything, but one man said "hey, Bill Cosby did these fucked up things" and that is what finally got it on the national consciousness.

That man was Hannibal Buress a successful black stand-up comedian, actor, and television writer.
His comedy routine outing Cosby blew up on social media just before the mainstream press picked it up in late 2014.
posted by Lanark at 1:33 PM on July 27, 2015


The tipping point around my office watercooler was the twitter backlash happened late last year. Most of my coworkers didn't know or care until that week.
posted by cmfletcher at 1:50 PM on July 27, 2015


He's suing Constand for 'smearing' him.

Wait, he's suing her because the judge unsealed the deposition!?!
posted by ogooglebar at 3:10 PM on July 27, 2015


He's suing Constand for 'smearing' him.

Does anyone else suspect that he's seeking sanctions against Constand not because he thinks she leaked it, but because he wants the opportunity to do discovery to find out who did leak it?
posted by slmorri at 3:15 PM on July 27, 2015


ogooglebar: "Wait, he's suing her because the judge unsealed the deposition!?!"

No. From the article:

"Last month a judge released limited excerpts from Cosby's 1,000-page deposition in the case."
...
"Cosby, 78, also called on the court to sanction Miss Constand for leaking his full deposition from the 2005 case to the New York Times last weekend."

posted by zarq at 3:16 PM on July 27, 2015


Maybe this is gallows humour but really it reminds me of that scene from Chicago:

(paraphrased) "That's not my client's diary!"
"Yeah! And she broke the lock!"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:29 PM on July 27, 2015


When I was a preteen, my family stayed at a summer cabin with a large stash of old Playboy magazines. Being not much interested in the pictures, I read the articles (ha). One of them was about the "Playboy philosophy" and a photograph showed a bunch of celebrities who lived by this philosophy, including Hef, Woody Allen, and Bill Cosby. Even at that age, I was dismayed that people who were my heroes (Allen and Cosby, not Hef) believed things that seemed so dismissive of women. Now those heroes are people I can't bear to think about.
posted by acrasis at 3:42 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


theodolite: "Anonymous hacker hates the entire city of New York, so he takes down New York Magazine"

Real New York haters take down the New Yorker, DUH.

Mchelly: " I'm certain there were plenty of women who would have loved to sleep with him on whatever terms he chose. "

It really drives home that rape is a crime of power and violence, not desire or sex. The number of women who would have LINED UP to have sex with Cosby is enormous! He didn't want the sex, he wanted the rape. (Yeah, what FelliniBlank said.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:50 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm stuck right now with this nebulous thought I can't quite articulate. In the same way that there was that study showing how so many C-level execs show the same traits as sociopaths, I wonder, given how often it turns out powerful men are long-term serial abusers, if there's something in the personality there. Something about how that desire to dominate/coerce fuels a successful rise to the top.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:55 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]




if you want a human fleshlight, there is no shortage of affordable prostitutes. It HAS to be the helplessness and humiliation.

Not that it makes any difference whatsoever, but there is a paraphelia I cannot recall the name of that is a desire for sex with an unconscious, passive partner*. I've sort of assumed that was the reason that the rapes perpetrated by Cosby were all so very consistent in their specific particulars.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:31 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Has anyone checked to see how much stock Bill Cosby has in whatever company makes Quaaludes? Hey, he could get a new spokesperson gig....
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:34 PM on July 27, 2015




Somnophilia may be what you're thinking, DarlingBri?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:37 PM on July 27, 2015


I don't think Quaaludes are made anymore. Perhaps Lunesta or Ambien would be interested.
posted by jfwlucy at 4:41 PM on July 27, 2015


The article Cookiebastard linked implied that methaqualone is still being made, it's just banned in the USA.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:42 PM on July 27, 2015


[One comment deleted. Whatever the intention, probably this isn't the best place for jokey comments. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:18 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can't help but feel that predominately white media outlets are suddenly being a little too cooperative when the assailant is black and a significant portion of the victims are rich and white.

I don't know, Cosby was like The Guy racist-ass white people could label as "one of the good ones" to prove they weren't racist, and whose tirades they could cite as proof that their feelings about sagging pants were totally legitimate and not based in any kind of racial bias whatsoever.
posted by schroedinger at 5:38 PM on July 27, 2015


I can't help but feel that predominately white media outlets are suddenly being a little too cooperative when the assailant is black and a significant portion of the victims are rich and white.

I don't know, Cosby was like The Guy racist-ass white people could label as "one of the good ones" to prove they weren't racist, and whose tirades they could cite as proof that their feelings about sagging pants were totally legitimate and not based in any kind of racial bias whatsoever.

No reason he can't serve in both roles.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:05 PM on July 27, 2015


I can't help but feel that predominately white media outlets are suddenly being a little too cooperative when the assailant is black and a significant portion of the victims are rich and white.

I wonder what would have happened to R. Kelly if his victims had been white. (There's a very informative chapter about it in The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper.) Though I don't think the media should be covering Cosby less: they should have covered Kelly more.
posted by LindsayIrene at 6:35 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, somnophilia. Thank you, feckless fecal fear mongering.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:14 PM on July 27, 2015


Don't thank me, thank Wikipedia!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:18 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Vulture put together a timeline of victims speaking out.

Which misses one incident which was actually reported to the police, in 2000; Lachele Covington, who appeared on Cosby's show, accused him of sexual assault when she went to dinner at his house and he grabbed her hand and guided it into the waistband of his sweatpants. This was reported in the National Enquirer at the time; Cosby threatened a $250 million libel suit.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 7:55 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


This recent article in GQ about what Hannibal Buress thinks about the Cosby rapes and his part in outing him is a bit unsatisfying. From other sources, it seems like he's had this bit in his act for awhile. The joke is: 'for a guy telling other guys to pull their pants up, he should try the same – dude's a rapist.' Which, major props to Buress for calling it what it is and not letting people wonder. But it's sad that he can't just own the truth of the matter as well. I get that you don't want to be defined by something that you can't control (why wasn't it ever a big deal before? why did this joke make it a big deal?) but, well, c'mon, man. Don't hide behind your comedy. You can't skate away from this – own the joke. You won't ruin it by diving in to the mechanics about why that "joke" was a truth that no one wanted to see and almost never did.
posted by amanda at 9:50 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was wondering about the quaaludes, which Cookiebastard's link explained a little. My friends and I paid good money or traded for quaaludes in Southern California in the early '80s, before that drug totally dried up on our street level. I took a few in junior high school. They removed inhibition in a way that, in adulthood, lots of alcohol did, but without the lag time or the tons of liquor. Years later I was offered what the offerer called "synthetic quaaludes." By then I knew to get away. This was Mandrax? To us it was Rorer 717 or something
posted by goofyfoot at 10:23 PM on July 27, 2015


For a number of years, there's been a burger franchise around, at least in Melbourne, called Huxtabuger. Yes. A burger chain based on the Huxtable family. The Denise was "The Hot One". Whenever I'd see one of these franchises I'd exclaim something like "Oh, Goody! The Rape Burgers are here".
There seems to less of them about. I hope the fucking idiots rebrand ultra fast. I also hope they go bankrupt and their dicks fall off.
posted by goshling at 7:01 AM on July 28, 2015


Best magazine cover I've ever seen. Photography by Amanda Demme and writing by Noreen Malone.

THR has a short interview with Ms. Demme.
posted by zarq at 8:51 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tangential but darkly amusing -

A Facebook friend observed that there is baby food dessert product called "Pudding Grabbers". It took me a full hour to get why she said the name icks her out now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 PM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bill Cosby Removed From Documentary On Black Stuntmen
Bill Cosby was instrumental in opening the door for black stuntmen in Hollywood early in his career. He was to be a central figure in a new documentary about black stuntmen, but that has now changed. He will be mentioned, but his interviews have been pulled, following the latest revelations about the comedian, who admitted in court documents that he drugged women for sex.
I didn't know this about Cosby, but the knowledge just makes me sadder. Cosby was tremendously influential in many areas, but his legacy is irretrievably sullied. The recipients of Cosby-supported scholarships, the Cosby-funded institutions, accounts of the civil rights movement - they're all going to have a bit of a lacuna because of what he did, because nobody can now be proud of the association.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:31 PM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I understand that people have their feelings, but I do think that any focus on how it's tragic for Cosby's fans, rather than on how Cosby's actions have seriously harmed the women he assaulted, is misplaced. I don't fucking care about his legacy, or the holes that reality is going to leave in the fictional facade he was so skilled at maintaining for decades.
posted by jaguar at 9:59 PM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


His legacy will matter to students of civil rights and equality in this country.

Without him, his work, influence and power, race relations in the US would probably be far worse off. At the time, his Cosby tv show was literally the most positive portrayal of a black family that had ever been seen on television. Part of an ongoing pattern -- one could say similar things about his role on I Spy and his show Fat Albert. His career very likely helped change ways whites treated blacks in this country as well as opened the door for many who came after it.

His charitable contributions and endowments enabled hundreds if not thousands of kids to further their educations. 20 million dollars to Spelman College. Sizeable donations to cancer research and civil rights groups. And in speech after speech to students for decades, he encouraged African Americans to educate themselves as a way to overcome racism and racial conflict.

As far as I'm concerned, he deserves to rot in hell for what he did to those women. That is now, rightfully, part of his legacy as well.
posted by zarq at 10:31 PM on July 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't suppose any of these people are fans; some of them probably wish they'd never heard of him. The NPR story is about people documenting their own history, and the choice they have made to exclude Cosby from participation. It's the right choice, but it's not a cost-free one: he was intimately involved in their fight for equality and there are probably anecdotes that only he knows. The same goes for other things he was involved in: they are part of people's lived history and they have been tarnished by their connection.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:37 PM on July 28, 2015


A huge bunch of the excerpts in the original article were from his friends and fans. The whole reason they trusted him were because they were his friends and fans. Cosby targeted his friends and fans.
posted by jaguar at 10:39 PM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't fucking care about his legacy, or the holes that reality is going to leave in the fictional facade he was so skilled at maintaining for decades.

I think it's important to discuss both, but perhaps for different reasons than are being raised here.

By examining the man's history, we can identify patterns that can help us prevent others from doing what he did in the future. It wasn't all a fictional façade. He really did insist on African American stuntmen. Which apparently had historic repercussions on that industry. There's an interconnectedness here that's so important for us to be aware of: Cosby has done quite a few laudable things in his lifetime and that is one of the biggest reasons why he was a successful predator. Why he was able to commit so many rapes, over a period of decades.

We've seen the same damned pattern played out in the careers of other predators, like Jerry Sandusky and Jimmy Seville. Charitable acts and kindness towards others create trust, which allows them to groom and attack their victims, with little fear of reprisals. They could be confident that no one would believe their victims if they came forward.

It's still happening. Look at the comments under just about any article detailing Cosby's sexual assaults and you'll find vehement apologists, ready to defend the man. 46 women have come forward. 35 gave up their anonymity. And yet, people are still defending Cosby. So it's important to bypass their willful ignorance and simply push for raised awareness and concrete changes.

In the UK, after Jimmy Saville's history was revealed, there was a push to change the ways the British media and police handle allegations against powerful authority figures. To ensure that evidence of abuse isn't ignored because someone is thought to be above reproach. Over time, it's been interesting to watch. Many rape cases are no longer being automatically labeled "consensual." There has been more support offered to victims, on several levels. Now that they've been alerted, parents will hopefully be less trusting.

We still need similar campaigns here in the US. It would be nice if one of the consequences of people realizing that Bill Cosby drugged and raped nearly 50 women is more awareness, protection and support for potential victims and survivors.

I think there's a valuable conversation and call to action that can be had here, which doesn't diminish the victims' trauma. A way to transform what was done to them into preventive measures.
posted by zarq at 9:25 AM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Washington Post: “Genius seducer Bill Cosby didn’t realize key accuser was gay, new documents say.”

Do you think maybe a few of Cosby's defenders will get that a 30-year-old gay woman who had a girlfriend really wasn't sexually interested in a 67-year-old man despite his claims?

And tip of the hat to the Wash Post for that headline.
posted by orange swan at 3:55 PM on July 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Do you think maybe a few of Cosby's defenders will get that a 30-year-old gay woman [...]

Maybe. But most of his defenders are saying the women did this for career advancement, starfucking, or money, not because they were overcome with sexual desire.

And ask any lesbian who's had to deal with an eye-rolling gynecologist when asked about her contraceptive use: there's a lot of people out there who believe that "lesbian" is a personal preference, but that (like all women) they routinely have sex with men for money or survival or obligation.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:16 PM on July 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Via that Washington Post article, I eventually ended up at this old Philly Mag article: “Dr. Huxtable & Mr. Hyde”
posted by Going To Maine at 5:38 PM on July 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Singer and songwriter Janis Ian has spoken out about how Cosby tried to have her blacklisted from TV when she was 16. I especially liked her comments about Camille Cosby.

I'm reluctant to judge Camille for her role in this, because Bill is the rapist and therefore primarily to blame, and I bet Bill is abusive towards her and over 50 years of life with him must have left her too fucked up to see straight, but at the same time... she had to have known he was raping women. Several of the accounts have included the fact that Bill invited some of these women to their home, where he then drugged or tried to drug them. In one account, the woman had gone on a double date with Bill, Camille, and another man she was dating who introduced her to Bill. They all saw a movie together and then went back to Bill's place to play pool, and at one point she looked up from the game and realized that Camille and her date had left the room. Bill told her Camille had gone to bed. Camille deliberately absented herself leaving Bill alone with a woman, whom he then tried to drug. Fortunately the woman didn't happen to want any sort of beverage, and promptly left when Bill made a pass at her, so that saved her.

If Camille was prepared to live with her husband cheating on her constantly, that's her business, but to know he was drugging and raping women and to do nothing about it, to even help him do it, is monstrous and criminal.
posted by orange swan at 5:13 AM on July 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


“Dr. Huxtable & Mr. Hyde”

Wow. Oh wow. Thanks for linking to it.
posted by zarq at 8:06 AM on July 30, 2015


If Camille was prepared to live with her husband cheating on her constantly, that's her business, but to know he was drugging and raping women and to do nothing about it, to even help him do it, is monstrous and criminal.

Not that it excuses her behavior in the slightest, but it's possible she simply didn't equate "drugging them before a hookup" with "rape". There are plenty of other people who still don't believe that either.

Again, not that this excuses her. But it least does answer the question "how in the HELL could someone have stood by while he was raping people" - it may be because, in her head, she wasn't; she was standing by while he was cheating on her is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:14 AM on July 30, 2015


Not that it excuses her behavior in the slightest, but it's possible she simply didn't equate "drugging them before a hookup" with "rape". There are plenty of other people who still don't believe that either.

Or perhaps she wasn't aware her husband was drugging them.
posted by zarq at 9:10 AM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or that's normal to her.

Like, I really really really want to drop her down the shame well and close the lid, but I can't because the situation is so chronically, systemically fucked up that it cannot NOT have dramatically altered her experience of the world.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:44 AM on July 30, 2015


Enablers in abusive relationships often feel trapped in an impossible-to-break cycle for a variety of reasons. They are frequently victims themselves.

That doesn't excuse them from allowing abuse of others to happen. But the dynamics can be... complicated.
posted by zarq at 10:25 AM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are some people out there whom I want to drop down the shame well without reservation: the men who worked for Cosby, procuring women for him by scraping up an acquaintance with them, introducing them to Bill, and sometimes spiriting them away afterwards, which is probably much more than Camille ever did, and they wouldn't have the excuse of being abused. They would have done it for money. We know that there were men who did this, who were accessories to rape, that there may very well have been many of them, but we don't know a single name. Cosby has at least gotten publicly named and shamed and has had to deal with some court cases because of what he's done, but none of the men who made it possible for him to do what he did have faced a single consequence for it, and that makes me so angry I can't stand it.

Exactly one man, one who worked for Cosby at NBC, has spoken out about it, though according to him, his role was limited to ferrying money to the women with whom Cosby was having consensual affairs and he neither saw nor played any part in any sexual assaults. He quit the job because he could no longer stomach Bill's sleazy womanizing. But he's the only man with the integrity to come forward. There must be other bystanders who knew things, and from them we have heard nothing. It's all on the women Bill assaulted to speak out, and then so many people accuse them of lying.
posted by orange swan at 10:43 AM on July 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Exactly one man, one who worked for Cosby at NBC, has spoken out about it, though according to him, his role was limited to ferrying money to the women with whom Cosby was having consensual affairs and he neither saw nor played any part in any sexual assaults.

The New York Daily News article about him: “Ex-NBC employee Frank Scotti claims Bill Cosby paid off women, invited young models to dressing room as he stood guard”
posted by Going To Maine at 11:52 AM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Richard Winton at the Los Angeles Times: “Why LAPD's lone Cosby case matters so much ”
posted by Going To Maine at 2:57 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


What?

'Late Show With David Letterman' staffers relieved they don't have to deal with upcoming Bill Cosby appearance
Female staffers at “The Late Show With David Letterman” are breathing a collective sigh of relief they don’t have to deal with an upcoming Bill Cosby appearance. A source close to the show tells Confidenti@l that the disgraced comic had some truly bizarre backstage requests.

“He’d include as a request, before he arrived, that the young girls, interns and assistants, all had to gather around in the green room backstage and sit down and watch him eat curry,” our stunned source explains. “No one would say anything, and he would sit silently eating and make us watch and want us to watch.”
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:56 PM on July 30, 2015


I never heard anything about Cosby being a rapist until October 2014, when I read this thread. Browsing through the list of Cosby-related MeFi FPPs prior to that, I see there's nothing about the rape allegations.

I am still upset by the removal of my comment about the Cosby sexual assault allegations from the comments on this MeFi thread from February 2014. If I recall, my comment consisted solely of a link to this then-recent Gawker article about Cosby, "Who Wants To Remember Bill Cosby's Multiple Sex-Assault Accusations?"

I'm not actually angry with the mods for the removal; I understand why the comment was removed: the comment derailed the thread and did not add to the topic of discussion of the FPP. But I'm still angry about the removal without being angry at the mods for removing it. I'm still angry because it felt/feels like one more tiny blow in the war of the Bill Cosby=Rapist story being shouted down again and again, over years and years, because the story was never "relevant." "Bill Cosby=Rapist" derails the narrative we've followed for so long about this good kind talented fatherly man we all loved, and that's why we all didn't want to change that story.

My comment derailed the thread. I was trying to derail the thread. Derail all the threads, write it in all the books, shout it from every social media platform, ring the bells from every mountaintop. Who Wants To Remember Bill Cosby's Multiple Sex-Assault Accusations? NOBODY. BUT WE'RE GOING TO REMEMBER IT ANYWAY.
posted by nicebookrack at 4:49 PM on July 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


Derail all the threads, write it in all the books, shout it from every social media platform, ring the bells from every mountaintop.

There's a lot of Youtube videos that are going to need comments.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:06 PM on July 30, 2015


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