American public needs to presume innocence

Kelvin Duley II

Kelvin Duley II

Kelvin Duley II

With a new year come new allegations and another Bill Cosby accuser. On Wednesday another women claimed Bill Cosby drugged and molested her back in 2008. If you’re keeping count, and I assume you’re not, that’s more than 20 women who have come forward accusing Cosby of such devious acts.

The beloved Cosby, once noted as America’s Favorite Family Man, has now become America’s Ultimate Rapist. A foolhardy and degrading title it is, but his reputation has fallen to an all-time low.

At first, I kind of shook off the allegations I heard about Bill Cosby. That’s because Bill Cosby is dear to my heart. I, along with my younger sister, grew up watching The Cosby Show on our television screen. I’ve watched all eight seasons. As I think back, The Cosby Show was the first African-American TV show I ever watched.

The Cosby Show aired its final season in 1992. I was born two years later and shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, and A Different World (created by Bill Cosby) were insanely popular within the African-American community. But, to me Bill Cosby and The Cosby Show stood above them all. The Cosby Show I found more relatable, honest, and at heart. The Cosby Show portrayed African-American families as loving, closely knitted, educated, determined, and aspiring. The Cosby Show alone built a legacy that inspired not just the African-American community, but America. Cosby, to me, was the utmost family man. Cosby was the utmost African-American dad. The little TV I did watch as a young adolescent was Cosby, so it’s hard to fathom the most recent image Cosby has gained. Honesty, I feel as if I have to choose between the legacy and legend that is Bill Cosby or the alleged rapist with a most tarnished past.

I present two questions. Is Bill Cosby a con man? Is he really the man who is dear to our hearts but a wolf in real life? Surely not Cliff Huxtable. Like I said, I just shook off the first few allegations I heard, but no longer can I continue to sweep it under the rug.

Twenty-plus women have painted Cosby as a rapist and monster. Some of these women we have never heard of. Then there are the likes of Janice Dickinson, Beverly Johnson and Carla Ferrigno, women more known. Phylicia Rashad, Cosby’s wife in The Cosby Show, said she spoke to Cosby during the earlier stages of all of this. Speaking in an interview with Lindsey Davis of ABC News, Rashad told Davis that Cosby commented, “The Internet has given some very anonymous people a very loud voice.” I couldn’t agree with Cosby more. I’m of the mindset that these women are money hungry, attention seeking, and are trying to tarnish a legacy. At the end of the day, these women benefit hugely with TV exposure or even a hefty paycheck. I mean, not to seem dismissive of these women and their allegations, but 20-plus women have chosen a fine time speak up now instead of two decades ago. I would classify these allegations as trying to sell wolf tickets.

Bill Cosby, 77, is on his comedy tour Far From Finished. I’m glad to see Cosby proceeding, though he’s facing huge backlash. We are all innocent until proven guilty. Until he is, Bill Cosby remains America’s Favorite Family Man.