Friday, November 21, 2014

1412 Cosby

Even in his mega-star years there was one thing Bill Cosby never had to worry about.  He need never have feared he’d awaken, open his bedroom door and be overrun by a stampede of women eager to push him back onto the bed.


If true, all the dirt that has surfaced about him -- sometimes resurfaced --  makes you wonder what goes on in his head.


But a mega star he was.  Rich, famous and beloved.  Now, it turns out, rich, famous, beloved family man, Cliff Huxtable -- Dr. Huxtable -- was prescribing and dosing patients with more than “two aspirins and call me in the morning.”


Nothing like a couple of roofies to knock a doc off the pedestal.  If he actually did it.


If it was one woman one time and the case was settled and everyone is keeping silent, it still would be terrible. But it still would be one thing.  Now,  there are too many charges to just ignore.


Yes, innocent until proven guilty.  But.


Cosby is 77, and his career is still in high gear.  Or at least it was getting back there until recently.


Netflix was planning a comedy special for him.  NBC was developing a series.  Those have been scrapped.  TV Land has stopped showing reruns of “The Cosby Show.” He backed out of a booking on Letterman.  Circling the wagons.


What he didn’t back out of was an interview with NPR’s Scott Simon.  When Simon questioned him about the allegations, Cosby clammed up.


There was no comment, not even a throw away “no comment.”  Just silence.  Long silences are capital crimes in radio.  But Simon -- a decent and professional interviewer -- couldn’t even force a grunt out of Cosby, let alone an answer or defense.


The comment not heard around the world.


Back to that lack of a lineup outside the bedroom door:  If Bill Cosby felt he needed sex from a stranger, it couldn’t have been all that difficult to come by.  After all, star, rich, famous.


But to impose himself -- if that’s what he did -- on unconscious women in his hotel rooms or rental cottages is a career ender.  Maybe even if he didn’t.


Silent screen star Fatty Arbuckle was tried three times for rape and manslaughter after a woman died following a party he threw in 1921.


The first two juries hung.  The third acquitted.  Arbuckle was a pioneer comic, one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood.  He coached Charlie Chaplin, discovered Bob Hope and Buster Keaton.  But after the acquittal, his star died.


Cosby is heading in the same direction no matter what happens in a courtroom or behind the locked doors of a settlement conference in the carpeted mahogany paneled office of a Hollywood lawyer.


And whatever he did or didn’t do, his actions now show contempt for his audience, the same audience who made him rich, famous and beloved.  In show business, no court ruling is necessary and no recovery is possible.


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2014

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