Bill Cosby has been accused of rape or sexual assault by more than a dozen women, and though the allegations are once again coming to light, the comedian has remained entirely silent on the issue.
A number of women have stepped forward to claim that Cosby carried on affairs with them, while others say the comedian actually went so far as to sexually assault them. A total of 14 women came forward in 2004, with their allegations detailed in a tell-all book, Cosby: His Life and Times.
Though the allegations made some headlines at the time, they were largely forgotten until comedian Hannibal Burress called out Cosby during a stand-up routine, asking why he got a pass for such serious allegations.
“Thirteen? It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the f***ing smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”
“‘I don’t curse onstage.’ Well, yeah, you’re rapist, so I’ll take you saying lots of motherf***ers on ‘Bill Cosby: Himself’ if you weren’t a rapist. I don’t know what I’m doing by telling you. I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch ‘Cosby Show’ reruns.
“Dude’s image, for the most part, it’s f***ing public Teflon image. I’ve done this bit on stage and people think I’m making it up… That s**t is upsetting. If you didn’t know about it trust me. When you leave here, Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny. That s**t has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress’.”
His stand-up act has led many others to question why the media is so strangely silent on Bill Cosby. Even his accusers — many of which came forward after the statute of limitations on their crimes had run out — noted the lack of interest from the public.
One of Cosby’s victims, Barbara Bowman, explained, “The media creates this idealized image of celebrities: that they are untouchable, that they’re not one of us… I don’t think people want to believe it; to believe would shatter the illusion.”
The mainstream media isn’t the only party remaining silent on the issue. Bill Cosby himself has not spoken out on the issue as it resurfaced, though his comedy tour has continued.