The sexual harassment case against Bill Cosby by about fifty different women has now finally taken a different turn into a criminal prosecution. It became a political football during election by two rivals for the District Attorney regarding one that was soft on prosecuting Bill Cosby and the other that vowed to prosecute him, won. The jury must determine if the District Attorney was fulfilling a campaign promise or pursuing justice in the name of abused victim of sexual assaults, which she repeatedly went back to.
It is not unusual for a few women to sometimes get attached to their abusers, stay married, seek them after violent assaults and sometimes cover up for them. They claim it for their kids’ sake, good provider or lover; not mentors or just friends. In Bill’s case attraction to known married playboy. Unless there was more to it or one refused to let go, platonic attachment after rejection of one or two sexual encounters should have sent a red signal to set both free. Cosby’s wife is now forced into deposition against him.
Both parties settled out of court the civil case that prompted this criminal one. It is one thing to punish Bill in a civil court but to humiliate his wife and sentence him to life in jail for what public opinion had already convicted him of before being charged, will only bring memories back to African Americans and others made postal boys. Only if Monica Lewinsky had succumbed to Ken Starr salacious inquiry on TV!
So far, we are not sure which of these women has a case that will stand up in court. As far as we know most of these cases could not even be prosecuted by the District Attorney of various states because of unreliable preservation of critical evidence. Yet, the share number of women that has already swayed public opinion has resulted in Cosby loss of career, reputation, honoraria and impoverishing legal fees.
Spellman College, one of the historical universities that got the largest donation from Bill Cosby at one point, had to return it despite the fact that most historical black colleges are struggling for funds. There are not that many people in African American community that would condone or support a boorish and philandering playboy sued by so many women. This criminal charge after almost twelve years is going to degenerate into a “civil war” within the African American community and some backlash within others.
Nevertheless, criminalization of Playboy, Hustler and Penthouse culture that made many millionaires, and a profession known for its promises to young girls and boys gambling to be Hollywood stars will divide other American communities. Some of Bill Cosby’s accusers that came forward from the same African community may back out. Others want to punish Bill Cosby civilly but not criminally, not his wife.
Indeed, African Americans are tougher on crime than whites because crime victimizes them more and hate the burden placed on them whenever a black commits a crime. Blacks do not have as many heroes as whites and African Americans become suspicious when different people accused of committing the same crime are treated differently. Initially, few American supported O. J Simpson, until misconduct by police rang a bell. They only cheered when his lawyers exposed and beat the system. They later got him.
Another event was that of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. At the beginning of his confirmation hearing for the highest court, blacks and liberal whites were united against conservatives that wanted him confirmed. Most African Americans had no sympathy for him because they knew he was nominated and supported by black and white conservatives. As soon as Anita Hill with the almighty power of sexual harassment got in, most African Americans spilt with liberal, mostly white women and backed Thomas.
Throughout the history of America, sexual prowess has always been the albatross of African men, then drugs. They have been victimized, persecuted and vindicated over and over too many times. In the case of Justice Thomas, Anita Hill is black as well as one of her lawyers but most of her backers were white women who were convinced that Clarence Thomas sexually “mentored” Anita Hill. However, their main grouse was not sexual harassment, it was to derail confirmation of a conservative Justice, black or white.
Bill Cosby presents a combination but different details to that of O. J Simpson and Clarence Thomas. He had cultivated very favorable image that was rare for African Americans. If it were possible blacks would separate Dr. Huxtable’s legacy on television from Bill Cosby accused by so many women. Apart from so many good causes he championed, like many African Americans that have reached the pinnacle of favors within the white community, Bill almost forgot his troubled youth and those in his place today.
Ironically, he could have been shaken by the support he and Al Sharpton gave in 1987/8 New York case to Tawana Brawley who accused six white boys of raping her but later turned out to be false. Something changed somehow, so much as Bill Cosby became the champion of conservative whites that vilify young black men. An actor, a playboy and member of Hollywood party club that suddenly put on the mantra of moral crusaders where young African American boys were despised. A factor in unsealing his deposition.
It is not surprising that some African Americans questioned his audacious crusade as a betrayal of his youth and where he came from. He lost some of his supporters among academics as well as his standup comics, wondering if he is more hypocritical than sincere in public shows. This is where he started losing his mojo. One thing a black man does not want to lose sight of in America is where he belongs and feels more comfortable. No matter how whites love you, it takes much less to lose support than in the hood.
Every woman that had a falling out with her man is not a victim. Some were actually abused, some were also abusers, others were scorned and some were wives that got divorced only to become enemies of their ex-husbands. It will be difficult to sort out which is which in among women’s fury until proper and legally constituted body looks at each case and use prosecutorial discretion to determines the ones that must proceed to court, settled out of court or just blackmail out of unrelated skirmish to pay him back.
On the other hand, Cosby might go free because of the higher standard required in criminal cases, which is beyond reasonable doubt. Whatever the case, Bill has been damaged beyond repair and nothing, not even bleach can wash him clean again. Some analysts think if he is freed of the criminal charges, some of his dignity may be restored. Though they failed with underage sex, whatever dignity, it is worthy of little. This man of seventy-seven going into eighties would probably die in prison if sentenced by a hostile jury.
Bill Cosby’s case will divide some communities during and after the trial. There is a Yoruba proverb that no matter how troublesome a rascal, you do not sacrifice him for the lion’s appetite. The sight of black people watching Bill Cosby walking frailly to the court for his criminal arrangement did not show people full of joy that he has been brought to justice as the ladies’ lawyers want. They look at him folding their arms in sorrow, empathy, and sympathy knowing that could have been their father or grandfather.
What is clear is money is the root of all evils. When you have money and put in place of responsibility, you will be treated differently from poor inner kids that got free sex and sex enhancement drugs. We will never know who requested or offered Benadryl or other drugs. By the early 1980s, DEA considered Quaalude abuse second only to marijuana. So far nobody mentioned cocaine; and marijuana now legal in some states. Many drugs were abused in the culture of sex, rock and roll.