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Restoring Cosby’s “legacy”: Can Bill Cosby please sit down?

Restoring Cosby’s “legacy”: Can Bill Cosby please sit down?

by: Sarah Evans - 30 June 2017

You’d think that after being accused of sexual assault by over 50 women, and narrowly avoiding going to jail thanks to a hung jury in one case, Bill Cosby would have graciously disappeared into the shadows from whence he came, at the very least, to save what remains of his reputation.

You’d be wrong. Clearly not satisfied with the harm he has already caused, and in a move so utterly callous it can only be described as cruel, Cosby has decided to go on a little road show to help college students – wait for it – avoid being accused of sexual assault.

First there was outrage, and now there appears to be complete confusion over just what Bill Cosby plans to achieve by holding these town hall meetings.

It began when Cosby’s publicist Andrew Wyatt appeared on WBRC’s “Good Day Alabama” in Birmingham last week. He said:

“We’re now planning town halls and we’re going to be coming to this city sometime in July … to talk to young people because this is bigger than Bill Cosby…

“This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today, and they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things that they shouldn’t be doing. And it also affects married men.”

“Laws are changing. The statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault are being extended,” added spokeswoman Ebonee Benson.

“So this is why people need to be educated. A brush against the shoulder, anything at this point, can be considered sexual assault and it’s a good thing to be educated about the laws.”

But then his team changed their tune, accusing the media of sensationalising the issue. They said the town halls were not about sexual assault at all, but rather about “restoring Cosby’s legacy”.

That’s right. Cosby has walked away from this experience with one thought in mind: himself, and the impact his crimes have had on him.

(Quick catch up: Cosby admitted to drugging women and then having sex with them, although he says the drugged and unconscious women agreed to his sexual advances.) While it is undoubtedly worse if Cosby intends educating young people about the dangers of being accused of sexual assault, the less-offensive town halls are not much better.

But Cosby’s insensitivity does not stop there.

Cosby clearly had no plans of putting his life on hold, post-trial. In what is surely a disturbing indicator of where his head was at just before the trial began, celebrity news website TMZ revealed on Monday that Cosby went to court a month before his trial began in an effort to renew the rights to the title of his animated series, Far Albert and the Cosby Kids. Cosby wanted to renew the rights to the terms Fat Albert and “Hey hey hey”.

Oddly, Cosby shouted “Hey hey hey” when leaving the court during his trial. Few could understand the strange outburst, until Monday, when TMZ pointed out: it was marketing. It’s about his experience. Marketing.

Cosby’s legacy, Cosby’s good name, and Cosby’s experience.

It is the epitome of rape culture. The victims are completely erased, and the entire conversation is hogged by the perpetrator.

In South Africa, we know the fight against rape is long from over. From not having enough information about how to report rape, to victims just plainly not being heard, the last thing we need are more Bill Cosbys making the issue about themselves.

Leave it to Shonda Rhimes to provide the perfect reaction to Cosby.