You literally couldn’t make this up, but in the topsy-turvy year of 2017, where Donald Trump is somehow our President, poor people burn to death so that rich people don’t have to look at nasty old projects, and so on, it kind of makes perfect sense: having recently had his sexual assault case declared a mistrial, Bill Cosby is planning a motivational speaking tour.
As per Page Six, Cosby’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt and publicist Ebonee Benson were interviewed on something called Good Morning Alabama yesterday morning. The video is uncomfortable viewing: host Janice Rogers waffles on about how well-loved Cosby is, asks “How is he?”, and ends the interview with a chummy request to “tell the Cosbys we said hello.” Wyatt claims that “We knew once [the jury] heard the truth, it’d either be a not guilty verdict or a mistrial” and reels off the sort of rhetoric you hear time and again in rape trials — the victim’s account had “too many inconsistencies”, she delayed reporting the crime for a year, etc. Throughout, the alleged rape is referred to as “a relationship.”
And then, the news: “Mr. Cosby wants to get back to work. We’re now planning town halls and we’re going to be coming to this city [Birmingham] sometime in July … to talk to young people because this is bigger than Bill Cosby.” Yes, Bill is going the Brock Turner route: he’s going out to educate the youth about the dangers of being accused of raping women! “This issue can affect any young person,” said Wyatt, “especially young athletes of today, and they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things that they shouldn’t be doing. And it also affects married men.”
“This issue”, to be very clear, is raping people. Yes, be careful, young men, because if you let your guard down for a moment, you might discover that you’re accidentally raping someone! And then they might accuse you of rape! Because you raped them! Wyatt’s suggestion that rape can “affect any young person” is true, but only insofar as that apparently in America, you can be raped by a rich, famous man and then watch him walk scot free out of the courthouse to continue his life. Benson, to her eternal discredit, tries to fudge the matter: “A brush against the shoulder… anything can be considered sexual assault these days.” That may or may not be true (spoiler: it’s not!), but Cosby wasn’t brushing anyone’s shoulder: he was (allegedly, etc) systematically drugging and raping women, and doing so over the course of decades. The best way to avoid that particular “issue” is by NOT SYSTEMATICALLY DRUGGING AND RAPING WOMEN.
Cosby isn’t off the hook; the prosecution has 120 days to reschedule the trial.