It’s actually comical to learn that Bill Cosby’s newly attained lawyer, Martin Singer, wrote a letter to Buzzfeed News warning its editor to “proceed at your peril” if the site continued. to report on allegations of rape leveled against the legendary comedian from women such as former supermodel Janice Dickinson.
The ominous language is funny enough, but what’s truly funny is that Cosby doesn’t realize that things have changed. Gone are the days when Cosby’s wealth and celebrity, and the power he achieved from both, can command silence on whatever topic he deems off limits. Take for instance Wendy Williams, who revealed this week on her talk show that back in 1990, Cosby called her general manager demanding that she be fired after she reported on a National Enquirer interview he did about the very sordid accusations that are only now truly costing Cosby any real consequences.
Williams says Cosby demanded that she be fired and later called her from his office to admonish her directly. Williams claims Cosby “dressed me down and called me everything but a child of God.” It’s an easy scene to picture.
I imagine Cosby’s remarks mirrored those he gave an Associated Press reporter earlier this month after he dared to do his job and ask Cosby a news-related question. Here he is attempting to play the role of bastion of morality even when it’s related to an issue that speaks to the monster that may live within. Cosby is so used to being in charged that he simply cannot fathom that anyone much less some reporter dare question him.
The reporter in question somewhat cowered under Cosby, but the fact that the AP decided to release the video against Cosby’s wishes speak to the aforementioned new reality.
While some of the co-hosts of The View consider it “mob behavior,” others recognize the power of social media and the boom of online journalism in a more positive light. Each of us now has the ability to drive the narrative in ways we never could before. This may not always be for the best, but when it comes to serious matters like rape, it’s now extremely difficult to sweep stories like these under the rug.
So for those wondering “Why now?” with respect to Cosby’s rape allegations, here are a few fun facts:
1. People have long accused Bill Cosby of rape.
2. Publications have long reported on Bill Cosby being an accused rapist, including a lawsuit in which a dozen women all testified to similar experiences.
3. Some of these women, including Dickinson, had already gone public with their thoughts about Bill Cosby years ago, making statements like Cosby is a “bad guy” who “preys on women.”
The difference between then and now is that we’re more connected than ever, and thus, more aware of these accusations and operate in the space to readily discuss. Likewise, with more outlets come more opportunity for people to get their stories out. Cosby cannot use his influence to bully Buzzfeed into ignoring people like Dickinson because no matter where you go online, the story will likely be found.
Cosby either has to address this new reality and offer a real response to the allegations or shut up and go into seclusion. He may think some media people lack “integrity,” thus ask him to answer to those who claim he victimized them, but if he’s really about upholding integrity, he will now have to fight for his. It may disappoint Bill Cosby to learn that he now has to answer to someone, but the current landscape is not going to change on his accord.