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Author Topic: Bill Cosby and the Allegations  (Read 1637 times)

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Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« on: December 01, 2014, 07:15:36 AM »
Ok, so I haven't seen this topic on the boards here, and I wanted to discuss opinions and speculations.

Bill Cosby, for many Americans, has been an institution. He is a celebrated comedian, famous actor, frequent guest speaker at university commencements, media giant, and mentor to many young performers wanting to break into acting.  For many years, he was the picture of fatherhood on his tv show.

Allegations have now come up accusing him of drugging and raping young women.  Some of the allegations date back over 20 years and have actually been filed, but never picked up on by the media at large.  Now this is sensational news and an intelligent/opinionated discussion is requested here.

What are your thoughts?
Yes, race must be brought into this, since he is a black man and many of the victims are white.  To focus only the fact that rape is a crime of violence is to tread delicately around the fact that he is a black man and some of the victims are white.  Cosby was known for promoting black-only production crews, which can be viewed as racist against whites. 

I welcome a healthy debate and discussion on this topic.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2014, 07:54:42 AM »
Bill Cosby, for many Americans, has been an institution. He is a celebrated comedian, famous actor, frequent guest speaker at university commencements, media giant, and mentor to many young performers wanting to break into acting.  For many years, he was the picture of fatherhood on his tv show.

Unfortunately it's become clear in recent years, that just because people were icons for many years doesn't mean that they were good role-models in their personal life. Far too many celebrities have been brought to light, for us to assume that just because someone was well loved means that they were good people.

Quote
What are your thoughts?

Well, these are merely allegations at this stage and haven't been confirmed or prosecuted.

However the allegations seem quite believable, from what I've seen of them. Unfortunately it's the kind of things that happens in hollywood and there are a lot of people in show business who will take advantage of young women in that sort of way.

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Yes, race must be brought into this

How is it relevant?

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Cosby was known for promoting black-only production crews, which can be viewed as racist against whites.

Firstly, how is this relevant?

At the time, there was significant racism within... well, I was going to say in hollywood, but let's just be more honest and say everywhere. White people had little difficulty in obtaining employment within this field, as such selectively employing African American personnel enabled them to obtain experience, which could assist them in entering that workforce in general and also acted to legitimize the concept of an African American production crew member.

Context is important to understanding whether an action is appropriate, and while in general selective appointment based on people's skin colour is not a good thing to have in society, in this case it would have helped to correct the existing inequality within the system.

In economics this is known as the Theory of the Second Best.

Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2014, 08:21:05 AM »
In my opinion it is just as relevant as one white officer shooting one black teenager. Ferguson made it a race thing and Cosby allegedly raping white women looks racial to me. I know we cringe and experience discomfort when having to accuse a black perpetrator for fear of sounding racist, but I wish to open up this wound and discuss.

So why do we immediately try to ignore the race topic if it is black on white? If it were white on black, we would all openly welcome a discussion on racism.

I had a black manager tell me once that from his college education in black studies, "black people can't be racist". I have not yet found this to be a true statement.


Offline Caehlim

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2014, 09:01:19 AM »
In my opinion it is just as relevant as one white officer shooting one black teenager.

Which is how much and for what reasons?

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Ferguson made it a race thing

Race was an issue in Ferguson, Missouri before the shooting of Michael Brown. The Washington Post describes some of the factors here. However Ferguson has its own thread. What is the relevance here?

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Cosby allegedly raping white women looks racial to me.

Why? What in particular about it does?

Quote
I had a black manager tell me once that from his college education in black studies, "black people can't be racist".

That would seem self-contradictory.

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Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2014, 09:10:42 AM »
If the alleged rapes were committed by a black person against a white person simply because of their race that would be germane to this discussion as might be a person of one race targeting people of only one different race.  These alleged rapes occurred because the opportunity was there for one person of influence to act out in such a way against another person who was perceived to be vulnerable.  I would say it is a power thing and not racial.




Offline Lux12

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Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2014, 09:56:24 AM »
Ok, so I haven't seen this topic on the boards here, and I wanted to discuss opinions and speculations.

Bill Cosby, for many Americans, has been an institution. He is a celebrated comedian, famous actor, frequent guest speaker at university commencements, media giant, and mentor to many young performers wanting to break into acting.  For many years, he was the picture of fatherhood on his tv show.

Allegations have now come up accusing him of drugging and raping young women.  Some of the allegations date back over 20 years and have actually been filed, but never picked up on by the media at large.  Now this is sensational news and an intelligent/opinionated discussion is requested here.

What are your thoughts?
Yes, race must be brought into this, since he is a black man and many of the victims are white.  To focus only the fact that rape is a crime of violence is to tread delicately around the fact that he is a black man and some of the victims are white.  Cosby was known for promoting black-only production crews, which can be viewed as racist against whites. 

I welcome a healthy debate and discussion on this topic.

I honestly didn't want to believe it when I first learned about the allegations. Not because I liked his work. To be quite honest I was never a fan of Cosby's humor or acting, and I regarded him as something of a joke, but I always thought that if you took away these things, you would have an otherwise decent human being. Then I found out about this and I don't think I can say that anymore. I can forgive a lot of things celebrities do, but this is not one of them. These may be allegations at this point, and I don't know everything there is to know about the case, it's not looking good.

I can understand where some people might think of this as a race thing, and it is true that an alarmingly large number of black people have been convicted based on or at least had false accusations leveled against them. The justice system as it is simply isn't fair to black people. It hasn't been  since the first colonies were established.

However, I doubt that Cosby is one of these falsely accused people. First of all, this wasn't a one time thing. There are a number of allegations against a single man and typically, where there are multiple accusations against one person, there's usually some element of truth. The fact that he paid to make these allegations go away for a time particularly makes me think there's some element of truth. I'm not doubting the victims, but frankly, if I had not known about this, Cosby would be one of the last people I'd suspect of being a serial rapist. There are a number of other celebrities I would have suspected long before Cosby. As Caelhim said, this sort of thing isn't exactly unheard of in Hollywood. The rate at which it occurs in broader society is already shocking, but more so there.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 09:58:09 AM by Lux12 »

Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2014, 10:35:29 AM »
You are correct, Caehlim.  Ferguson has its own thread and I shall not bring it up in here so I do not offend anyone.  Again, it is my opinion that I perceive the Cosby situation as potentially racial since one man of one particular race looks like he allegedly raped multiple women of another race. If he had allegedly raped within his race exclusively, I would not perceive it as racially motivated.  Again, it is my opinion and quite potentially flawed.  I have stated this again and if you still do not understand my opinion, then I can no longer help you.  My intent was to bring race up as a possibility.  If I am incorrect, let us discuss.  Otherwise, your continuing to ask me the relevance when I have given my opinion, makes me question your ability to understand other people's opinions.

If we want to move on to just the alleged rapes, then let us do so.  I do apologize for offending others by asking whether this might have been racial in nature.  Let us forget my comments as ignorant.

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Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2014, 10:49:29 AM »
You are correct, Caehlim.  Ferguson has its own thread and I shall not bring it up in here so I do not offend anyone.  Again, it is my opinion that I perceive the Cosby situation as potentially racial since one man of one particular race looks like he allegedly raped multiple women of another race. If he had allegedly raped within his race exclusively, I would not perceive it as racially motivated.  Again, it is my opinion and quite potentially flawed.  I have stated this again and if you still do not understand my opinion, then I can no longer help you.  My intent was to bring race up as a possibility.  If I am incorrect, let us discuss.  Otherwise, your continuing to ask me the relevance when I have given my opinion, makes me question your ability to understand other people's opinions.

If we want to move on to just the alleged rapes, then let us do so.  I do apologize for offending others by asking whether this might have been racial in nature.  Let us forget my comments as ignorant.
I'm wondering if you would be willing to look at the motivation from another perspective?

If the alleged rapes were committed by a black person against a white person simply because of their race that would be germane to this discussion as might be a person of one race targeting people of only one different race.  These alleged rapes occurred because the opportunity was there for one person of influence to act out in such a way against another person who was perceived to be vulnerable.  I would say it is a power thing and not racial.





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Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2014, 11:02:02 AM »
Looking at the social demographics, and putting aside the little voice in my head that is saying 'Say it ain't so!', I'd be more inclined to think 'power' as a motivation rather than specifically 'race'.  The women in question were apparently selected at Hollywood parties, and so the question of 'what targets were available' comes up.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2014, 11:12:50 AM »
Again
Quote
I have stated this again and if you still do not understand my opinion, then I can no longer help you.
Quote
makes me question your ability to understand other people's opinions.

I don't believe in guessing other people's opinions or making assumptions about them. Until this post, you never actually said what relevance race had to do with it. But then you said...

Quote
If he had allegedly raped within his race exclusively, I would not perceive it as racially motivated.

...and now I know what you meant. The word racial does not equate with racially motivated. So now that we're on the same page:

It's a little difficult to talk about the motivation for an alleged crime, on which we don't have any comment from the alleged perpetrator. The victims don't report in their allegations that he stated his reasons for committing the assault, or that they suspected that their race was a factor. This means any discussion of motive, really does have to involve a lot of supposition, beginning with assuming actual guilt.

Trying to judge this from the pattern of alleged victims is problematic. Firstly we have Jewel Allison as one of the alleged victims, who is African American herself. Secondly, we don't know that everyone has stepped forwards yet. Without a complete list it is difficult to assume that the list we do have is statistically representative of the race of all victims, particularly if there may be factors involved which would make people of African American background less likely to report these assaults. Cosby's widespread fame within the civil rights movement, unfortunately would be a possible factor in dissuading African American victims from coming forwards.

Assuming that Jewel Allison's allegations are correct, we know that the attacks were not racially motivated, since they also occurred without race as a motivating factor. However it is possible that race influenced the selection of victims. This could have been out of some form of racially focused hatred or resentment, it could also have been out of some form of racially focused sexual attraction. We can't really know this for sure though, since it may have also been as Oniya suggest a question of availability. It may have also been another factor which exists on racially skewed lines, such as a preference for more wealthy or powerful victims. All these things and more are certainly possible, I'm not aware of any factors that rule them out. However there's also no way to know for certain whether they are factors.

Without facts, all we're really doing is guessing. I'm not sure exactly what the point of that would be.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2014, 12:08:58 PM »
The difference, Knightshadow, is that Ferguson was just the latest example of a widespread systemic problem. Until you can demonstraet that Cosby was just one of many many examples of black men in positions of authority raping white women, and that black men in general are more likely to target white women, then painting an equivalence between this incident and Ferguson is just plain disgusting - and doing it specifically to try to focus the discussion on "Black suspect who was black!" is... kinda racist.

The "black people can't be racist" statement most likely comes from the theory that racism is prejudice plus power (which, for the record, I disagree with on the grounds that "racism" already means something different in common parlance). Black people can absolutely be prejudiced, but lack the power as a group to structure systems and institutions and narratives to their advantage.

And that's all I really have to say on the subject of race. On the subject of the allegations themselves... I'm strongly inclined to believe them until we see evidence calling them into doubt.

Online Sethala

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2014, 12:43:15 PM »
On the subject of the allegations themselves... I'm strongly inclined to believe them until we see evidence calling them into doubt.

No offense, but that stinks way too much of "guilty until proven innocent" for me to agree with that sentiment.  Granted, this is the first I've actually heard about it and I don't know enough of the facts to completely dismiss it either, but I do want to stress that there's a reason the rule is "innocent until proven guilty".

That being said, from what I gathered in the thread, it sounds like there were multiple allegations filed over several years, it wasn't just everyone started saying "yeah, he raped me 10 years ago, I just never told anyone til now", right?  If several of them were filed over a long period of time before any of it became public knowledge, then I'd say they're credible enough to look into, at least.  Does anyone have a decent story that goes over everything without too much bias?

Offline Caehlim

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2014, 12:45:00 PM »
Does anyone have a decent story that goes over everything without too much bias?

This source from CNN seems pretty good to me.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/20/showbiz/bill-cosby-allegations-repercussions/

Offline Kythia

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Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2014, 12:51:28 PM »
No offense, but that stinks way too much of "guilty until proven innocent" for me to agree with that sentiment.  Granted, this is the first I've actually heard about it and I don't know enough of the facts to completely dismiss it either, but I do want to stress that there's a reason the rule is "innocent until proven guilty".

The rule in a court of law is "innocent until proven guilty"  This isn't a court of law.  If several unconnected women say to me to watch out for so and so, and then I catch him googling where to buy bulk rohypnol, then his Facebook status is "Gone rapin'" then I'd feel perfectly comfortable avoidiing him.  So would literally everyone else.  Shouting "innocent til proven guilty" would be relevant if Ephiral were planning on arresting Bill Cosby.  She's not.  She's saying "I believe these allegations and, should it ever become relevant, will act accordingly."

In essence, bringing up "innocent til proven guilty" is 100% missing the point.

Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2014, 06:20:14 PM »
Some of you find this discourse pointless, so I respectfully accept that assessment. I am not an attorney, nor claim to have more information on the subject than anyone else that is not part of an investigation--if there is one.  Someone also suggest I make conclusions or show evidence about "many many examples of black men".  I cannot.  I do not have such statistics or facts.  I am not speaking about many many other black men, just this one alleged serial rapist. 

I do sincerely apologize for bringing up the race issue. Clearly, it is a volatile subject and I have been labeled a racist for trying to ask questions and have discussion.  Please accept my sincere apologies and allow me to retract my suggestion that this might have been a black-white issue due to my ignorant perception.  My math is off; my assumptions flawed.

I hope he is innocent, since I am a huge fan.  I hope these women get their say in court or in media coverage.  It is clear that tragedies have occurred, to both parties involved.  If found to be true (some, most, or all), then I hope Mr. Cosby meets with justice and the women are made whole in some form, either through vindication, reparation, or attention to the matter.


Offline Ephiral

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Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2014, 07:05:56 PM »
Kythia, thanks. That was the perfect response.

Knightshadow, for what it's worth, your apology was incredibly gracious and well-appreciated. I'm sorry I didn't make this clearer myself, but... I was referring to the action as racist, not you personally. It takes waaaay more for me to apply a blanket label like that to a person, but I do believe strongly in calling out bad actions - especially when good people might not realise they're doing them.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2014, 07:16:56 PM »
Some of you find this discourse pointless, so I respectfully accept that assessment.

I'm sorry I implied that the discourse was pointless, it wasn't actually my intention. I think you posed a worthwhile question, but my answer is that we can't know and that attempting to guess would be pointless. I wouldn't have considered the topic and reached that conclusion though if it wasn't for you asking about it. The topic for discussion is entirely valid in my opinion, I was just providing the best answer I had from the information we have available.

Quote
Clearly, it is a volatile subject and I have been labeled a racist for trying to ask questions and have discussion.

For what it's worth, I don't think that you're a racist either.

Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2014, 07:26:45 PM »
Well said, Ephiral and Caehlim!  Thank you and I bow to both of your wisdom.  Sincerely. I have learned to question my thought process and conclusions.  THIS is why these boards are valuable!  We learn and can grow.

In other news...Mr. Cosby has severed ties with Temple University and UMass Amherst.  Tragic and sad, yet perhaps the right thing to do with regards to those institutions' reputation.  Mr. Cosby spoke at more than one commencement speech and I have a co-worker who witnessed one of those speeches.

My next question is:  given the allegations, do we now discount the power of his words/advice during these commencement speeches?  Is his message less valid now because we have allegations of very serious and violent crimes?

Opinions?

Offline Shjade

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2014, 08:42:52 PM »
The rule in a court of law is "innocent until proven guilty"  This isn't a court of law.  If several unconnected women say to me to watch out for so and so, and then I catch him googling where to buy bulk rohypnol, then his Facebook status is "Gone rapin'" then I'd feel perfectly comfortable avoidiing him.  So would literally everyone else.  Shouting "innocent til proven guilty" would be relevant if Ephiral were planning on arresting Bill Cosby.  She's not.  She's saying "I believe these allegations and, should it ever become relevant, will act accordingly."

In essence, bringing up "innocent til proven guilty" is 100% missing the point.

Technically even arresting him wouldn't be a problem. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that string of events constitutes "probable cause." After the arrest, dealing with the matter of actual conviction, then the presumption of innocent until proven guilty comes into play.

If we only arrested people we had already proven guilty, there'd be no reason to take them to trial after the arrest.

Regarding the racism angle:
it is my opinion that I perceive the Cosby situation as potentially racial since one man of one particular race looks like he allegedly raped multiple women of another race. If he had allegedly raped within his race exclusively, I would not perceive it as racially motivated.

Let's unpack this for a moment: you say that your opinion of your perception (why you need an opinion about your own perception I'm not sure, but okay I'll roll with it) is that this is racially motivated because his alleged victims are only of a race different from his own - if they'd matched his race you wouldn't have that opinion.

To which I reply: why not? If Cosby were accused of raping only black women you don't think it's possible he'd have targeted them specifically because they're black simply because he is, too?

I'm sorry, but this entire train of thought strikes me as wrongheaded at its very foundation. Racism isn't only about what you expect of "the other." It's also about what you expect of "your own." Generic example: white person preferring white partners because he expects them to be educated, reasonable, effective, etc. - that says as much about his prejudice toward non-whites as any overt negative expectations of PoCs.

To put it another way, that you would assume this is racially motivated because he's black and they're white - but wouldn't if they were black as well - says...well, it says more about you than Cosby, really. :x

Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2014, 09:46:22 PM »
You may continue to accost me for my opinion, of which I have retracted and asked forgiveness, if you like.  I have rethought my opinion on the racial issue and have humbly retracted my ignorant comments.

Offline Shjade

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2014, 10:29:31 PM »
My apologies, I overlooked that in your last post. Didn't mean to gang up on you over it. :x

Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2014, 10:43:04 PM »
[bows]
I have been ganged up on and am dusting off the dirt.  Cuts and bruises will heal and all is forgiven.

So, enough about Cosby.  Let's call this court adjourned.

Offline consortium11

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2014, 03:46:10 AM »
It may be worth looking at Operation Yewtree and the surrounding cases in the UK to look at similar examples.

In short, in the wake of much loved British TV personality Jimmy Savile's death a number of accusations that had been covered up during his lifetime that he was a serial child abuser came to light... and once they started to be investigated even more appeared. While Operation Yewtree was focused almost entirely on Savile and child abuse the fact that it became public and alleged historical offenses were being investigated meant that more people came forward to accuse celebrities (mainly associated with the BBC) of historical abuse, generally in the 1970's and 80's. There have been some high profile convictions (notably Rolf Harris, Max Clifford and Stuart Hall), some high profile "not guilty" verdicts (William Roache and Michael Le Vell), some high profile arrests followed by a lack of prosecutions (Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson and at least one case where questions as yo "was it worth it?" were raised: Dave Lee Travis was accused of about 14 different offences, found not guilty at his first trial of 12 of them and at the retrial convicted of one count of touching a researcher's breast for 15 seconds. There are still some cases pending, the biggest of which relates to Cliff Richard.

So we've got to see the good and the bad of such cases coming to light; some serial abusers are having to pay for their crimes while some (seemingly) innocent men had their names dragged through the muck (Freddie Starr for example was arrested four times and bailed nine, each with a lot of publicity, before being told he was not going to be prosecuted). We've also seen what could well be regarded as a misuse of resources in the wake of the Savile revelations; while it may well be right that Travis eventually had to account for his actions if you compare the zeal, effort and money that went into prosecuting him for what in the end amounted to one (in the great scheme of things) minor sexual assault compared to the complete inaction by the authorities in places like Rotherham it does leave a rather bad taste in the mouth.

We've also had to face a rather awkward discussion about historical culture. The simple truth is that things which were seen as acceptable in the 1970's and 80's over here no longer are. "Casual" groping was once considered largely fine... these days it's not just unacceptable it's also seen as sexual assault. But is it right to attach our cultural norms (even though clearly superior) to acts that occurred in the 70's and 80's? Is that getting a bit too close to "dog law" (punishing someone for something that wasn't a crime when they did it, much as like one would punish a dog for something that it hadn't been told was "bad")? Is it only celebrities who should be held accountable for acts like that in the 70's, 80's and 90's... and if not then why the emphasis on celebrities?

Prosecuting historical cases will always have more difficulty than more recent ones. In cases like sexual assault which already have a large "he said, she said" element it becomes even more difficult. These will almost always be troublesome, hard cases to get anything like accepted facts out of.

With regards to the discussion above I don't think we should be too hasty to completely dismiss the racial aspects of this however. As far as I'm aware all of the allegations against Cosby relate to white women. If he specifically targeted white women then there's of course a racial element to the crime. If he didn't just target white women then why have white women been the only ones to come forward (or at least get publicity; there may be accusers from other ethnic backgrounds I'm unaware of)? Isn't that dog whistling (and so blatantly it can hardly be called a dog whistle) that only sexual assaults against white people matter? And is Bill Cosby... a highly prominent black celebrity... the only celebrity with sexual offences skeletons hanging in his closet? If not then why only him? After all a law can be racist not only in its creation but also in its application.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2014, 05:32:30 AM »
As far as I'm aware all of the allegations against Cosby relate to white women.

One of the alleged victims, Jewel Allison, is African American.

Online Sethala

Re: Bill Cosby and the Allegations
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2014, 02:56:47 AM »
The rule in a court of law is "innocent until proven guilty"  This isn't a court of law.  If several unconnected women say to me to watch out for so and so, and then I catch him googling where to buy bulk rohypnol, then his Facebook status is "Gone rapin'" then I'd feel perfectly comfortable avoidiing him.  So would literally everyone else.  Shouting "innocent til proven guilty" would be relevant if Ephiral were planning on arresting Bill Cosby.  She's not.  She's saying "I believe these allegations and, should it ever become relevant, will act accordingly."

In essence, bringing up "innocent til proven guilty" is 100% missing the point.

Sorry, but I've heard too many horror stories from people that had their name dragged through the mud because someone falsely accused them of sexual assault, without a court ever getting involved, for me to give in to that argument.  I do agree that there can be a lower standard of evidence for personal actions than for a court punishment, but there still needs to be a standard set somewhere.

Regardless, to be honest this response has pretty much completely soured my opinion of the whole ordeal, so I'll be leaving the thread.