Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Stunning fall from grace

He was lauded as a comedian who could get laughs without resorting to gratuitous profanity.

He produced an animated television show featuring a group of Afro American kids navigating in and out of trouble, but the incidents were used as "teachable moments."

He created a landmark TV show which portrayed a black family with both mom and dad raising five kids while juggling very successful careers (an attorney and physician, respectively). 

He hosted his own version of a program where he coaxed kids into conveying their innocent outlook on life. Such musings often resulted in uproarious laughter from the studio audience. 

Any one of those accomplishments I listed would make an entertainment career for most. The fact that one person is known for all of those exploits makes one a legendary figure. 

Here's where the laughter ends.

Bill Cosby — America’s Dad — accused of rape by dozens of women, was finally hit with a criminal charge Wednesday before getting released on $1 million bail.

Just weeks before the statute of limitations was set to expire, prosecutors charged Cosby with sexually assaulting a Temple University employee at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004.

“The evidence is strong,” said Montgomery County Prosecutor Kevin Steele, announcing a single count of aggravated indecent assault against the creepy comedian.

Steele described the defenseless victim, tossing a fresh layer of taint on Cosby’s once-wholesome image.

Nothing was more stunning than a July article in New York magazine featuring thirty five different women sharing similar tales of Cosby violating them. Thirty. Five.

If indeed these allegations are true, there's not even a question who is most adversely impacted by this. It's the victims, hands down. But that doesn't mean there aren't countless others who will endure emotional pain, albeit to a lesser degree.

Cosby was on a crusade to remove the negative stigma surrounding the black community, whether it was addressing the disproportionate high school dropout rates, fracturing of the family units, etc. But any moral authority he may have had on those issues has vanished, and it's quite likely many in the black community feel utterly betrayed.

And what about his fellow actors on The Cosby Show? Because no TV station will air reruns of that classic sitcom, all those folks no longer have an opportunity to earn residuals (assuming such an agreement was in place).

For nearly four decades , Cosby was put on the proverbial pedestal as an entertainer who maintained the values of a loving husband and doting dad while earning the status of one of the most recognizable mega stars. But given the allegations that have surfaced over the past few years, I'm hard pressed to think of a more stunning fall from grace.


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