On October 16, 2014, famous comedian Bill Cosby became a spectacle after a few comedic remarks suggested that he sexually assaulted women. According to Luchina Fisher, a writer for ABC News, comedian, Hannibal Buress, made the joke heard around the world. While performing in Cosby’s home town of Philadelphia, Burress mocked Cosby’s public persona. “Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the ’80s,” he said in the bit. “Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.” Things went into an uproar after that.
Following the October performance by Buress, women started to come forward with alleged stories of sexual assault involving Cosby. According to Fisher’s article the first to come forward was a woman by the name of Barbara Bowman, who first publicly accused Cosby of sexual assault in 2006 and was a witness in another woman’s case against the comedian. Bowman published a story in the Washington Post titled, “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?” She wrote that it was only after a male comedian called Cosby a rapist that the “public outcry began in earnest.”
It did not take long for women to begin coming forward with accusations against Cosby. During the month of November 2014, several women came forward. Among those women was supermodel, Janice Dickenson. The supermodel claimed that Cosby drugged and raped her in 2002.
Dr. Judith Curtis, an award winning professor at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke shared her opinion on the issues concerning the comedian.
“He broke new ground in the television field in opening up opportunities for black comedians and black actors. He also made contributions in the field of education. However, his alleged, and seemingly long-term, pattern of sexual abuse of women is not acceptable behavior,” Dr. Curtis said.
“From a public relations, marketing, and advertising stand point, taking the shows off the air was probably thought to be necessary because his name and persona are so damaged” Dr. Curtis said.
Many have taken to social media to express their feelings concerning the allegations against Cosby. The question is has the media gone to far with publicizing the case?
“The media should report the facts as they are known and offer both sides opportunities to be heard. The media should refrain from offering their personal opinions about the alleged incidents,” Dr. Curtis said.
Fisher, L. (2015) Bill Cosby: A Timeline of Sexual Assault Allegations. ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/bill-cosby-timeline-sexual-assault-allegations/story?id=36013880.
Seemayer, Z. (2015) Bill Cosby’s Accusers: A Timeline of Sexual Assault Allegations (Updated). ET Online. Retrieved from http://www.etonline.com/news/154160_timeline_of_bill_cosby_sexual_assault_allegations/.