Slate Says Media Lapses Could Turn Actor Terrence Howard Into the Next Bill Cosby
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.
As Wyman points out, the mainstream media have largely ignored the accusations against Howard, just as they largely ignored the ugly allegations against Bill Cosby until now.
The Bill Cosby saga, as it’s played out over the last few weeks, represents a massive systemic fail for the media. This wasn’t just a story that the media missed. It’s a story that was already on the record and about a guy whom various newspapers, magazines, and TV networks helped promote in all sorts of ways over the last 10 years.
There are legitimate reasons for journalists not to pry into the private lives of celebrities, of course, and of course any story should be vetted and put in context. But this wasn’t about Cosby’s personal life; allegations of violent, felonious behavior were made … Despite this, networks and papers got into the habit of giving it a pass.
Wyman notes that Fox has two upcoming TV shows that feature Howard — Empire, in which he stars, and Wayward Pines — and says that this will be an opportunity to see if the media have learned from that “massive systemic fail.”
As those shows are promoted and their stars begin doing press, will Howard ever be asked about the six times women have gone on the record saying he hit them?
Well, you can certainly count on us to do so, Bill.
1. Here’s Another Woman Terrence Howard Punched
2. Is Terrence Howard a Wife Beater?
3. Interview With Terrence Howard’s Ex, Who Says He Punched Her
4. Terrence Howard Accused of Assaulting Flight Attendant
Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter