The national media have come under fire in the current Bill Cosby scandal for not paying enough attention to the sexual assault allegations against him when they first surfaced the mid-2000s. And now former NPR and Salon arts editor Bill Wyman has taken to Slate.com to warn the media not to make the same mistakes with actor Terrence Howard, who has been accused of assaulting, hitting, attacking or grabbing women six different times, including an incident with a total stranger in a Montgomery County diner. Only two of the alleged incidents led to criminal charges, and Howard was found guilty of “disorderly conduct” both times. According to Slate, he has flatly denied ever having hit any woman. Read more »
These days, Kristina Ruehli is a 71-year-old New Hampshire woman who spends her leisure time skiing and being a grandmother to eight. But back in 1965, she was a 22-year-old woman trying to make ends meet in California, working as a secretary at a talent agency in Beverly Hills. And that is where she met Bill Cosby.
How did you come to know Bill Cosby?
I worked for a talent agency called Artists Agency Corp. They had big clients like Bob Culp, Richard Crenna and George Burns, and these people were always around. And that is the way that I met Bill Cosby.
It was one of the most bizarre interviews ever on TV news. CNN’s Don Lemon, who used to work in Philadelphia at NBC10, asked one of the women who is accusing Bill Cosby of rape, why she didn’t do more to prevent it. He went so far as to basically ask Joan Tarshis why she didn’t just bite Cosby’s penis.
That bizarre exchange gave birth to #DonLemonReporting, #DonLemonRapePreventionTips and #DonLemonQuestions, with tweets applying Lemon’s warped logic to other situations. It is the top trending hashtag on Twitter:
This is how the journalistic sausage gets made: The Associated Press has released video of an interview with Bill Cosby in which he refuses to answer questions about the sexual assault allegations against him — and asks the interviewer to “scuttle” that portion of the video.
When I interviewed new Bill Cosby accuser Joan Tarshis the other day about her allegations that Cosby sexually assaulted her when she was 19, she told me that Cosby “switched to another orifice” after she told him that she had a vaginal infection. I left it at that. But not CNN anchor Don Lemon. Read more »
In the wake of a string of new rape allegations against Bill Cosby, Netflix has announced it will not premiere his comedy special that was scheduled to air the day after Thanksgiving. More from The Week:
The streaming service said in a statement that it is postponing the launch of his new stand-up special, Bill Cosby 77, and did not give a new date. The announcement came after two more women stepped forward Tuesday saying they were sexually assaulted by Cosby, including former model and reality TV star Janice Dickinson.
Cosby also has an NBC deal in the works, Deadline notes, with a series set to air later in 2015. The network has been asked by protestors to stop the project; as part of his deal, Cosby will receive a large sum of money if the show doesn’t go to pilot. NBC did not comment.
[Update: 1:54 p.m.] Buzzfeed is now reporting that NBC has officially dropped their upcoming project with Cosby, which was set to air in 2015. Though they would not comment on the accusations against Cosby, Buzzfeed reports that a source at the network said, “We never went as far as a delivered script and it had never even been greenlit to production.” According to previous reports about the NBC pilot deal, Cosby was set to receive substantial financial compensation should the project not go forward.
Last week, when I asked Bill Cosby if he had anything to say about the persistent and multiple sexual assault allegations against him, he smiled at me and whispered “no” in my ear. Then on Saturday, NPR’s Weekend Edition ran a new interview with Cosby, during which he refused to talk about the allegations, giving interviewer Scott Simon the silent treatment. But a lot has changed since then.
First, 66-year-old Woodstock resident Joan Tarshis came forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her two times in 1969, when she was a 19-year-old aspiring actress and he had just launched the immensely popular Bill Cosby Show on television.
Then, on Tuesday, former supermodel Janice Dicksinon — by far the most prominent of Cosby’s accusers — told Entertainment Tonight point blank: “I’m certain now that he drugged and raped me.”
Dickinson’s statement was quickly followed by Netflix’s announcement that Cosby’s comedy special, which was scheduled for release the day after Thanksgiving, would be postponed indefinitely, this coming not long after scheduled appearances on David Letterman and Queen Latifah’s television shows didn’t happen. And it sounds like Cosby’s long-planned return to prime time, courtesy of NBC, may be in jeopardy.
All of which makes me wonder: Why doesn’t Cosby just come out and say he didn’t do it?
On Monday, you expressed confusion on The View about Cosby accuser Barbara Bowman‘s actions after her alleged rape at age 17: “Perhaps the police might have believed it. Or the hospital. Don’t you do a kit when you say someone has raped you?”
You weren’t strident, you weren’t defensive, you seemed — oddly enough — sincere. “I’m going to reserve my judgment because I have a lot of questions,” you said. I believe that you’re genuinely confused.
It’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that a person can do both horrible things and worthwhile things and occupy the same body. I remember writing a college admission essay about the fact that Charles Dickens, my favorite author, was a terrible husband. Could I separate art from artist? Should I?
Obviously, this is harder. The investment in believing Bill Cosby to be the genial standup comedian, philanthropist, father figure … it’s profound. For that man to also potentially be a sexual predator? All of us slide in and out of selfishness and generosity, kindness and crank. But this is another level. It’s Roman Polanski. Or Oscar Pistorius. Or Lance Armstrong. We are large, wrote Whitman. We contain multitudes. Not all of the multitudes are pretty.
An unfortunate video is making its way around the web today featuring a clip of Bill Cosby talking about drugging women on his 1969 comedy album It’s True! It’s True! The bit is all about the mythical liquid aphrodisiac Spanish Fly. It contains quotes like “Go to a party, you see five girls standing alone [you say] ‘If I had a whole jug of Spanish Fly I’d light that corner up over there.'”
Then he details how he tried to procure some when he went on a trip to Spain. It’s all in good fun, and he never says he actually drugs anyone, but still …
Cosby is currently under fire after allegations of sexual assault resurfaced when comedian Hannibal Buress called him a rapist during a comedy bit in Philadelphia. So far, the comedian has remained mum about the allegations, but the Internet doesn’t seem to want to let him live it down. Check out the video above.