Leonard Part 7

Isn’t damage control supposed to, you know, control damage? Apparently, it’s not working out for Bill Cosby.

Bill Cosby, in the midst of a serious PR crisis as accusations about him sexually assaulting women make headlines around the world, has decided to stay silent.

In an interview on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” that aired Saturday (where Cosby and his wife appeared to talk about loaning works to the National Museum of African Art), Cosby, 77, didn’t say a word when host Scott Simon asked him about the allegations. In the past, Cosby has repeatedly denied these claims.

“This question gives me no pleasure, Mr. Cosby, but there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days,” Simon said, without specifically saying what the allegations in question were.

There’s a long pause. “You’re shaking your head no. I’m in the news business, I have to ask the question: Do you have any response to those charges?” Simon said.

Another long pause. “Shaking your head no,” Simon continued, and said again: “There are people who love you who might like to hear from you about this — I want to give you the chance.” And again, no response.

As I’ve previously noted, I certainly hope the allegations–some of which date back years–against Cosby turn out to be false; if true, every bigot who thinks African-American men, regardless of accomplishments, are sex fiends at heart will say, “See! I told you so!” However, as Boston Globe columnist Renee Graham notes, Cosby’s credibility appears to be compromised:

Cosby settled a lawsuit in 2006 filed by a woman who claimed the comedian drugged and raped her in 2004, and he has never been charged with any crime connected to the allegations. Yet from comedian Hannibal Buress, who straight up called him “a rapist,” to countless slings and arrows on Twitter, there’s a sense that Cosby won’t emerge from this mess unscathed…

Howard Bragman, a longtime celebrity public relations consultant, insisted on CNN that Cosby has “got to be willing to go on the air and go on the record, and say ‘These charges are not true, this is nothing I would do.’ ” So far, Cosby has done no such thing, perhaps already realizing his reputation is a lost cause.


Cosby’s attorney says his client’s lips will remain sealed
. We’ll see about that. Meanwhile, I don’t quite get why Rush Limbaugh is leaping to Cosby’s defense; does he think Cosby is a Republican? (By the way, remember when the right went after Cosby’s wife Camille in 1998 after she claimed that American racism played a role in the 1997 murder of their son Ennis?)

Again, I hope these allegations against Cosby turn out not to be true. However, if these allegations are meritorious, I think the lesson to be learned is: stop making celebrities out to be heroes.

UPDATE: More from MSNBC.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.