Is Bill Cosby the Next O.J. Simpson?

CosbyFresh out of court, Bill Cosby is planning a series of talks about sexual assault in the wake up his own sexual assault court case ending in a mistrial. On Wednesday, spokespeople for Cosby, including his wife, Camille, appeared on “Good Day Alabama” on Wednesday and said they will be holding an upcoming series of town halls to educate the public on sexual assault. The goal for the series of town halls, according to Cosby’s team, is to teach people to teach people how to avoid being accused of sex crimes.  He avoided jail due to a mistrial but instead of laying low he wants to fuel the fire.  Is Cosby the next O.J. Simpson?

After 52 hours of deliberation, a deadlocked jury could not find resolve which resulted in an inconclusive trial in the actor’s criminal trial for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand. For now, the decision has spared the once-beloved comedian from a potential decade behind bars. However, within minutes of the mistrial being declared, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office announced they will retry the case.  In the interim, Cosby wants to educate people on how to avoid charges when accused of sexual assault or in his spokespeople’s words, “How to avoid sexual assault accusations.”

Despite Cosby’s own admission of sedating women he wanted to have sex with, his on and off-screen image as a father and family man helped fuel his extraordinary 50-year career in entertainment. The actor created TV characters, most notably Dr. Cliff Huxtable, with crossover appeal among blacks and whites, young and old, rich and poor. Cosby has earned millions of dollars and fans from his comedy tours, films, and TV shows.  People have loved the comic for years, and it is quite possible that fame saved him from prison.  Now that he is free, many wonder why he would not just fall back, enjoy his freedom and savor his final days with family.  Instead, the 79-year-old wants to start a new crusade.  Is he the next O.J.?

The infamous O.J. case garnered more attention Cosby’s recent trial, however, after the former NFL star escaped a long prison stint, he refused to avoid the limelight.  O.J. continued to rare his head and scream for attention and eventually found himself behind bars.  After learning of his newest mission which could silence potential victims of sexual assault, Angela Rose, the Executive Director of Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE), issued the following statement:

Under Bill Cosby’s own admission, under oath he confessed to obtaining Quaaludes, a known narcotic that depresses the central nervous system often described as a sedative with hypnotic effects, to give to women he wanted to have sexual relations with. It’s disgusting that Cosby, who has not been absolved of his crimes, would even consider launching a campaign like this. If the Cosby team wants to create town halls for youth, they should focus not on false accusations, but drug-facilitated sexual assault and consent. This poorly planned P.R. stunt is nothing short of a tour of blatant victim-blaming.

Sexual assault remains to be the most under-reported crime in the country and these victim-blaming tactics are what makes survivors afraid to report. The false report for sexual assault is the same as any other crime, research has shown that it’s around 5 percent. But what happens more often is that survivors are shamed into silence.

In 2015, amidst the allegations of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault, Angela Rose and PAVE spearheaded the campaign to revoke the comedian’s Medal of Freedom with a White House petition that was addressed directly by President Obama. PAVE’s mission is to empower survivors of sexual assault to thrive after trauma. Please see their CosbyPAVEHollywood initiative to educate members of the entertainment industry to shatter the silence and prevent sexual violence. PAVE also works with students and schools around the United States to spread the message about the definition of consent.

Angela Rose, PAVE’s founder, has her own remarkable story of surviving kidnapping and sexual assault that was featured on 48 hours and the Oprah Winfrey Network. Angela has been featured on “Good Morning America,” the “TODAY Show,” “CBS This Morning,” “Fox News,” “MSNBC,” and “CNN.” She was invited to the White House’s launch of the “It’s On Us Campaign” following her contributions with former Vice President Joe Biden to The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, helped launch Congresswoman Annie Kuster’s Bipartisan Taskforce to end sexual violence and assisted Sen. Gillibrand’s work in the Senate to aid survivors of sexual violence. Last year Angela was invited to speak at the 2016 United State of Women Summit hosted by the White House.

Scores of women accused Cosby of rape, yet he was not convicted.  So far, his celebrity and financial status have worked in his favor, but a retrial is currently being staged.  Perhaps he would do well to just lay low, allow hearts to heal and the media hype to relax.  Instead, he wants to create a new movement prompting the question, “Is Bill Cosby the next O.J. Simpson?”

Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)

Sources:

PAVE: Angela Rose
Deadline:  Bill Cosby Rape Case Ends In Mistrial; D.A. Says “Will Retry”
CNN:  Bill Cosby admitted to getting Quaaludes to give to women
Washington Post: Bill Cosby plans ‘town halls’ on avoiding sexual assault accusations, his publicists claim

Image Credits:

Top Image Courtesy of The World Affairs Council’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of pixeIhouse’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Michael O’Brien’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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