1. Says the reporter: “…she did say to me ‘I love him’ about Bill Cosby. She stands defiantly behind him. She told me that in the years she’s known him, she has never seen the behavior alleged by the women who say they were drugged and raped, or sexually harassed.”
2. She swiftly dismisses the 21 women who have publicly accused Cosby of assault. Let’s say that again: 21 women.
“Forget these women. What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.”
3. She has the same reaction to his to most famous accusers.
“Rashad dismisses claims from both Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson. ‘Oh, please,’ she said when their names came up.”
4. According to Rashad, it’s all a big conspiracy theory!
“She said, ‘Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV,’ alluding to people other than the women. ‘And it’s worked. All his contracts have been cancelled.’
We talked more about the legacy of The Cosby Show. ‘This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family. And now you’re seeing it being destroyed. Why?'”
The most common reaction that I’ve seen to Rashad’s statement – one that I share – is horrified bewilderment; how could she so easily disregard so many women who have nothing to gain from stepping forward? Hasn’t she read the detailed accounts of his legal team’s disgusting actions taken against his accusers? How can she actually think there’s some sort of giant conspiracy theory to destroy the legacy of one of entertainment’s most important pioneers? Isn’t it clear that these accusations are most likely true?
But there’s a teeny tiny part of me that can relate. When I was in college, a friend was accused of rape. He was kind, jovial, warm – it was impossible to reconcile the guy I knew with the accusations against him. He asked me to write a letter in his defense for the hearing to take place at our school. The decision ate me up, and ultimately I declined. I wanted so badly to believe him but there was a small voice inside me that kept speaking up, that knew better. Slowly, other women came forward. One was a friend. He left school; years later I thought of him and found him easily on Facebook.
I still feel ashamed that, for a moment, I believed him over his victim.
I’m sure for Rashad, it’s a lot easier to think there’s some massive attack underway to destroy Cosby’s career than it is to imagine her dear friend drugging and raping women for decades. We saw the same thing happen with Diane Keaton, who defended Woody Allen last year. But statistics consistently show that accusers rarely construct a story. I hope Rashad revisits her feelings, and gives another listen to the voices of women bravely sharing their stories. They are not the ones destroying a legacy – Cosby, and those who continue to blindly defend him, are.
(Photo: Shutterstock, GIF: via)