Cosby controversy: guilt by accusation


It doesn’t matter whether Bill Cosby is guilty as accused. He has been judged in the court of public opinion, which has jumped the gun, inciting a frenzied media lynch mob. He is serving sentence — paying penalties, anyway — to the tune of lost gigs, speaking engagements, and connection to at least one prestigious university where he used to be the cat’s pajamas. This all before having seen one day before a judge, all without, for that matter, having been arrested.

Jill Scott, Whoppi Golderg and others who’ve dared to speak from the perspective of innocent until proven guilty have caught rabid, knee-jerk confrontation. Obama, of course, the weakest excuse possible for a Black man with his kind of power, is sitting this one out, which, you could say, is consistent with his character.

Our bright, shining White folk’s idea of a Black president has soft-pedaled his position of the glaring tragedy those who put him in office can face: blatant, virtually genocidal extermination of Black men — under cover of law. If Brotha Barack is going to cop out on something that serious, you know he’s not going to stick his neck out for Bill Cosby.

It doesn’t look good for Cos, that there’s no denying. Not when you’ve got someone like supermodel Beverly Johnson weighing in with a reasonably plausible scenario. Johnson has what to gain by false accusation? She can hardly be said to be someone aspiring to notoriety: The woman is world famous. And Johnson hasn’t said a word about suing for money.

Then there’s why did Camille Cosby suddenly decide, last week, she has to stand by her man? If she believes in him so tough, why’d she wait until now to say so?

These things withstanding, there are times when the truth has a hard time coming to light. We do not know that this is not one of those times.

Point is, regardless of gossip, circumstantial this and that, or anything else, Bill Cosby is through. If by some stroke he’s actually exonerated, this stigma will stick to him like a bad smell. Those who need to save face will swear the fix was in. Political fallout will dog him the rest of his days. On the, I suppose, bright side, he’ll still be so rich even his children won’t live long enough to spend all that money.

Ultimately, the vigilante mindset that has taken hold is frightening. Granted, Bill Cosby doesn’t face a literal lynch rope or — believe it — that would be around his neck.

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.