My Nonendorsing Opinion
If True, Bill Cosby is Not The Only Guilty Party in This Situation
For decades people have viewed Bill Cosby as something of an American icon. His protrayal of the almost perfect dad of an almost perfect African-American family on television challenged many past stereotypes. So successful was this television sitcom that its understandable that people tend to project the character played onto the real man, Bill Cosby. Therefore, there are many shocked almost to the point of disbelief as to the current alledgations of past serial sexual abuse of women by Cosby.
How was it possible that during the same period that many came to know Cosby almost as a member of their family, or even just a friend or associate that this abuse occured? While I admit the number of episodes of his show that I have seen in my life is fewer than the fingers on one hand, enough people followed the series faithfully till its conclusion to make it much beloved and highly popular.
Perhaps it was the jokes or humerous situations. Perhaps it was the desire to believe that America had left behind some painful memories and that this was the new reality of life in an American family. Regardless, till now Bill Cosby has remained that icon, that character, that almost perfect father figure. This in fact gave him the exposure and status that permitted him at times to speak out publically and sometimes controverially about the status of the family espically in the African American community. For years he has called on African-American men to assume greater family responsibility and he has championed the need to address declining traditional values.
The past few weeks have witnessed a wave of women from Cosby's past coming forward with allegations of rape and sexual abuse. With anything even associated with Cosby's name now in disfavor including reruns of his show the damage to Cosby's reputation is beyond repair. In time, the reasons why these alligations arose at this time will come out. I personally believe that powerful friends can sometimes become your most powerful enemies. Yet the allegations increase almost daily to the point where this once iconic actor now 80 appears worthy of inclusion not just on a walk of stars but also headlining Megan's List.
This morning I read the accounts of the NBC employee who guarded Cosby's door during many of those years and for many of those assults. Apparently his job description also informally included fronting and facilitating pay-offs to more than a few of the victims. In hearing him speak of Cosby's guilt and his need to come forward now I wondered if he is in debelief of his own guilt and the responsibility he bears for at least part of what occured.
Likewise, the employer of this guard, NBC who intentionally or not hosted both the show and the abuse bears some responsibility. How was it that NBC maintained a working emnvironment where employees did not understand their responsibility to protect each other and to report and act on such goings on?
I personally understand the position someone is in when a person with power over them subjects them to abuse. The metaphor of the "casting couch" in Hollywood has longed testified to the dangers and abuse frequently encountered by those attempting to secure a career in Hollywood. Nor is the casting couch limited to Hollywood. The continued silence of each victim however, contributed to the subsequent abuse of others by Mr. Cosby. In my opinion, however the taking of Cosby's money "in settlement" by many of these victims now cast them as partially guilty parties as well.
Not only did these ladies fail to come forward for many years but by allowing Cosby to continue to believe that he could "settle" the issue of his abuse with money orders in the name of an not unknowing third party, they might have quenched any quilt that Cosby could have had for his actions. Cosby's ability time after time to be able to come to an "agreement" on a cash "settlement" with his victims after the assult also only served to increase the probability of additional subsequent victims. As evidenced by the checks themselves, one can see that rather than if he could settle, the question became one of how much it would cost? One might also be temped to question someone now coming forward on a matter they agreed to settle for a cash sum many years ago.
Given the nature of the crime, rape and sexual assault its also disconcerning that they settled for the minimal sums involved. This week the LA School district settled a series of sexual abuses cases for in excess of $180 million. Having all lived thru a decade of similar cases all of which required millions to settle seeing checks for such minor sums does injustice to what these allegations represent.
I also think we all too often try mistakenly to project crimes of an individual onto society itself. Whenever there is a school shooting we tend to ask how society contributed to the problem. Was it a lack of gun control or society's overlooking the affects of bullying at school? Yet with the Cosby allegations some guilt must be spread a little wider.
Has Hollywood had a long tradition of over looking the casting couch mentality, of letting big name stars and famous people get away with or buy themselves out of scandals. Are there double standards where some in power in Hollywood or elsewhere such as Washington where people such as Bill Clinton use their position to take advantage of an intern or other subordinate. Where too many allowance are made for individuals like Woody Allen and yes, Bill Cosby simply because of their fame and perceived value to the community/industry.
Bill Cosby has in the past been critical of men in the African American community for failing to take responsible for their children and the moms who carry and then raise these children alone. The idea that there might be status in having two or three children by two of three different moms, none of who are married to the father. Yet Cosby apparently was a serial abuser of woman who believed his responsibility was subsequentlying sending a money order to the victim. Was it his fame or something else that blinded him to the hypocrisy of what he was preaching to others?
Many of the women coming forward are doing so they say to give credibility to the initial claims against Cosby. Yes, there is strength in numbers but just the allegation itself warrants being taken seriously. The timing of the allegations, at a time during which Cosby is seeking to launch new projects once again presented an opportunity for the abused to speak out. It is likewise a possible opportunity for those with other motives for destroying Cosby's reputation. Like I said, powerful friends can sometimes become powerful enemies.
Lastly this is an opportunity to point out that all too frequently with abuse, the behavior was not a secret. Serial abuse of women, children, subordinates, etc all too often has enablers. Those who protect the people with the big names. People who guard doors and/or deliver checks in third party names. Those who make excuses or refer to the Paula Joans as "trailer trash" or look for political motives and right wing conspiracies. People who intentionally or not in the end discourage or punish victims for coming forward. Cosby is not the only one possibly guilt in this situation
"I think the part of media that romanticizes criminal behavior, things that a person will say against women, profanity , being gangster, having multiple children children with multiple women and men want not wanting to is prevalent. When you look at the majority of shows on television they placate that kind of behavior"