Fans of veteran comedian Bill Cosby took to social media on January 23 to voice their support and celebrate a big legal win. Fans tweet well-wishes to Cosby’s official Twitter account and gleefully said they knew all along that he was innocent of raping 40 women. The news broke on Thursday, January 21, but didn’t receive media attention until Saturday morning, prompting some supporters to accuse the media of deliberately tarnishing Cosby’s image and refusing to acknowledge his innocence.
@BillCosby I knew you're innocent.
— Torian (@cyclopstb) January 23, 2016
RT @ahmiryoung: These Bill Cosby case dismissals sure are flying under the radar…
— The Great From 88' (@az5950) January 23, 2016
Even those on the opposite side of the subject, who believe that Bill Cosby raped at least some of the women who accused him, took to social media to weigh in.
"Gimme some puddin, baby" -something Bill Cosby's victims will never say
— theothervoices (@theothervoices) January 23, 2016
It’s unlikely that either side will change their opinions on Bill Cosby and his guilt or innocence anytime soon, which is unfortunate, because they all think he’s been cleared of criminal charges, but he hasn’t.
According to CNN, a federal judge in Pennsylvania granted Cosby’s request to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by Renita Hill, one of the dozens of women who’ve accused Cosby of raping them. In 2014, Hill claimed that Bill Cosby drugged and raped her repeatedly over a four-year period. As compensation, Hill said that Bill Cosby paid her college tuition and travel expenses so that she could visit him while he traveled for work. According to Hill, she was 16 years old when the sexual assaults began.
Reportedly, the judge dismissed Hill’s defamation lawsuit because he found that the evidence her lawyers provided didn’t support a claim of defamation according to Pennsylvania law. Cosby and his lawyers said the accusations were “innuendos” and that “people should fact-check” before accusing him of anything. Camille Cosby, Bill Cosby’s wife of fifty years, wrote a letter to the Washington Post, claiming that media outlets failed to properly vet Cosby’s accusers before publishing their accusations. Despite their dismissals, Bill Cosby, his wife, and his legal team never outright accused the women of lying or attempting to extort Bill Cosby, so there was no finding of defamation.
But, based on the tone on social media, people think the dismissed defamation lawsuit means that Bill Cosby is in the clear. He isn’t. According to the BBC, a Pennsylvania district attorney charged Bill Cosby with aggravated indecent assault in December 2015. While the alleged assaults on Renita Hill began in the 1980s, the assault for which Bill Cosby was charged occurred in 2004 and the victim was Andrea Constand.
Andrea Constand’s account of Bill Cosby’s assault on her is eerily similar to Renita Hill’s. Constand claims that she met Cosby through her position at Temple University. Cosby mentored Constand, and she claims that twice during their friendship Bill Cosby made sexual advances which she rejected. Bill Cosby maintains that he and Andrea Constand had consensual sex.
This is the second time an investigation was conducted into Bill Cosby’s alleged rape of Andrea Constand. The first time was in 2005, but the prosecutor declined to file charges against Cosby. Constand filed a civil suit against Cosby, which settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. In the summer of 2015, documents related to Constand’s lawsuit were unsealed. The potentially damaging information in those documents, including Cosby’s admission that he had given women sedatives in the past to facilitate sex, and the impending expiration of the 12-year statute of limitations prompted the prosecutor to file charges.
Bill Cosby is currently on $1 million bond. No date trial date has been set.
[Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images]