The fall of an iconic figure is depressing and leaves a hollowness in those of us who remember Bill Cosby as a groundbreaking performer and civil rights pioneer.
Now, a court deposition from a decade ago confirms the ugly, long-hidden truth we condemned last year: Cosby is a sexual predator, and no amount of wealth, fame and past good works can erase that fact. And, while sad for his fall, we can have no sympathy for his plight.
Cosby’s sworn testimony, made public last weekend, reveals him as an unapologetic pursuer of young women, not the family man or warmhearted Dr. Cliff Huxtable he portrayed on television. If there was doubt before about his guilt, there is none now. Cosby admits under oath that he reveled in his celebrity and casually drugged and exploited women. He describes one relationship this way: “We had sex and we had dinners and sex and rendezvous.”
Asked how it ended, he said: “Stopped calling for rendezvous.”
Why ? “Just moving on.”
It is stunning that Cosby would be so oblivious to the fact that drugging young star-struck women and having sex against their will is morally reprehensible. In his deposition, he equates his actions to buying drinks for a woman in the hope of getting her drunk. He also talks of how he tried to gain trust and make them comfortable by talking about their families and career hopes.
Never is there an indication that he had a second thought or that he believed this was rape. It was all a fraudulent facade from a man who had lost his moral compass.
Cosby became a star in an era when women were reluctant to publicly accuse men of sexual misconduct and society was unlikely to believe the accuser. Even now, a rape victim who accuses a powerful attacker faces a battle for justice in a society that still too often blames the victim instead of the perpetrator. Cosby knew this and used his clout and vast legal muscle to cover up his transgressions.
The statute of limitations may prevent criminal prosecutions, but the court of public opinion may be an even greater measure of punishment. His career is over. Sponsors that would have offered him the moon now want nothing to do with him. There is no farewell tour, not even a vestige of celebration.
If not for the persistence of Andrea Constand, Cosby would have continued to live this lie and his other accusers would be doubted. But Constand, then director of operations for the Temple University women’s basketball team, accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004. She courageously won an out-of-court settlement, and it is that settlement, now unsealed, that peeled back Cosby’s lies.
Cosby deceived for so many years. Now the world knows the truth.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS