Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno has commented on the allegations that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted dozens of women over the years.
Leno appeared at a National Association of Television Program Executives conference, and was asked what he thought about the allegations against Bill Cosby.
“I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe women. I mean, you go to Saudi Arabia and you need two women to testify against a man. Here… you need 25.”
Since November, scores of women have come forward to say that Bill Cosby sexually abused them. Since many of the women allege that the sexual abuse happened decades ago, they fall beyond the statute of limitations for civil and criminal cases. To date, Bill Cosby’s lawyer, Marty Singer, has dismissed the allegations by the numerous women as “discredited” and “defamatory.”
Jay Leno not only talked about the likelihood that the allegations against Bill Cosby are true, he praised the way that the allegations were brought to light. Last October, comedian Hannibal Buress referred to Cosby as a “rapist” in a standup routine.
“He made a flat-out statement that reverberated around the world. If that was on TV, it would have been edited. If it were on any other medium, it would have been edited. But because somebody just filmed it and put it out there, you’re getting your news raw and unfiltered, which I think is fantastic.”
In fact, the only ones who didn’t seem surprised when the allegations against Bill Cosby became public were other comedians. Some, like Patton Oswalt (King of Queens, Ratatouille) have since come out and said that he and other comedians who had suspected something was amiss about Bill’s behavior should have spoken out.
Earlier this month, comedy writer and director Judd Apatow (The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, This is 40) talked to comedian Marc Maron on Marons’s WTF podcast. Maron commented on the Cosby allegations himself.
“I’m that guy. I think we’re all that guy. You know, it’s like ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ but people in power are rarely proven guilty. Certainly the type of power that Cosby has enjoyed his entire life as an entertainer, the money he has made for other people, sort of makes him a bit untouchable…. It’s hard as a comic to realize this stuff. But what is our responsibility around it? For me, I know a lot of guys that are like, ‘if he did it, you know, it’s horrible.’ Well I think he did it. And it’s horrible, but what do we do now? Do we just let it go? Is that it?”
Judd Apatow then called into Marc’s podcast and the director pulled no punches about Bill Cosby.
“I’m not comfortable with [Cosby] running around the country doing standup like nothing’s happening… I absolutely would like to see him in jail. I mean, that’s where people who commit sexual assaults go. He should be in jail, and I think that when celebrities commit heinous crimes, people don’t want to let go of their love of their work and their lifelong relationship with them. If we admit that Cosby did this, then we’re not allowed to enjoy everything he did that made us so happy.”
Apatow continued, trying to imagine just how terrifying the alleged assaults must have been for the victims.
“What would it feel like to be standing with Bill Cosby, you take a drink of something, or you take a pill that he told you was something that it wasn’t, and you slowly start passing out. You’re looking at him. And you’re thinking, ‘What in God’s name is about to happen?’ It is bone-chilling. It’s a horror movie. And I don’t think people really want to close their eyes and imagine what it’s like as you’re going unconscious, to know that somebody is about to abuse you in that way. And that you won’t be able to complain because he can say, ‘What? We were partying. What? We were like, drinking, doing pills.’ It’s a setup to make a person unable to complain.”
Jay Leno’s recent comments come only a day after Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who played Bill’s son, Theo, on The Cosby Show, told Billboard magazine that he found it “painful” to hear the allegations against his TV dad.
“The Bill Cosby I know has been great to me and great for a lot of people. Just as it’s painful to hear any woman talk about sexual assault, whether true or not, it’s just as painful to watch my friend and mentor go through this.”
According to his website, Bill Cosby next performs on January 30 in Sandusky, Ohio, with a pair of February 8 shows scheduled in Boston.