*Last week Bill Cosby was essentially let off the hook with regards to the accusations of sexual assault against him. I hope we can all move on quickly and definitively.
On the one hand Cosby was tried by a jury of his peers and they could not agree that he was guilty of secretly giving women drugs so that he could incapacitate them and sexually assault them. In this country the criminal justice system requires that convictions be unanimous, so Cosby gets to go home. And we should all be satisfied with this result because the evidence against him was extremely flimsy and on shaky ground after decades of inaction.
On the other hand even with the tenuousness of the evidence it is hard to believe that Cosby is innocent of all the accusations levied against him. To paraphrase Kat Williams “if someone calls you a crackhead for 20 years, then you’re probably smoking crack.” Likewise people have been going on the record with their complaints about Cosby’s sexual assaults since the 1960s. Combine that fact with the dozens of women that recently added themselves to the list of alleged victims and there are really only two possibilities. Option A – there is a wide conspiracy against Cosby that employed various women over almost 50 years to engage in sexual relationships with him only to turn around and accuse him of perpetrating violence against them. Option B – he really did the things at least some of these wome are saying.
This is where Occam’s Razor takes over and we choose the least complicated scenario. Even if there was a conspiracy against Cosby, the trap would have been sprung in the 1980s when he was at his peak popularity. Not in the 2010s when he is on his last legs and mostly irrelevant in the cultural landscape.
If you accept as I do the idea that Cosby sexually assaulted at least one (but probably multiple) woman then how should you proceed? As a fan of his several of his creations (Fat Albert, Uptown Saturday Night, The Cosby Show, and A Different World among other works) I will still appreciate his creativity and humor. But I will not be supporting him financially any further. I made the same deal with myself regarding R. Kelly when his scandal dominated airwaves.
His mistrial reiterated for me that our criminal justice system is not perfect (no surprise there). But that doesn’t mean we as individual consumers of culture cannot be more discerning in our choices. Cosby deserves our collective back to be turned on him.
Furthermore it’s not as if Cosby was in the spotlight before all of this news broke, he was mostly retired, not being heard from, with no one clamoring for him to be in the public eye. I’m simply advocating for a return to that status quo.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.