Bill Cosby’s past continues to haunt him online and on air. After settling out of court in 2006 with Andrea Constand over sexual-assault claims, a Washington Post op-ed ran Thursday from another alleged victim, Barbara Bowman. Entitled, “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?” and coupled with recent jokes by comedian Hannibal Buress, the allegations have prompted a torrent of PR problems for Cosby just as he is resurfacing with a comedy special and a planned primetime series. The controversy is showing no signs of subsiding as another alleged victim, publicist Joan Tarshis, came forward in a piece on Hollywood Elsewhere on Sunday, claiming she was raped twice by Cosby when she was 19 years old.
Whether the controversy will doom the NBC series Cosby’s currently developing remains a question. But his Netflix special Bill Cosby 77, directed by Robert Townsend, is still scheduled to stream online this Thanksgiving. The special was taped on Cosby’s 77th birthday on July 12 at the San Francisco Jazz Center.
Cosby lawyer John P. Schmitt posted a statement on BillCosby.com:
Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives.
NBC declined to comment on the status of its primetime Cosby series, which was announced at last summer’s TCA. The network is still waiting for a script.
Cosby’s latest problems include his spot Saturday in the surprisingly hot seat at NPR’s Weekend Edition. Cosby and wife Camille sat down to chat about the artwork they are loaning to a Washington D.C. exhibition. But when radio host Scott Simon asked about the alleged rape accusations, Cosby remained tight-lipped.
Last night, news flew around the web that Cosby cancelled a Nov. 19 appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman, though it was unclear which side pulled the booking. Regis Philbin will now fill Cosby’s guest chair for the episode. The Late Show cancellation follows a previous pullout from The Queen Latifah Show.
And all this comes after a seemingly innocuous marketing stunt, posting photos of Cosby online and inviting people to add their own on-photo comments and share them through social media, blew up badly. Instead of amusing little bits about pudding and sweaters, the memes turned nasty fast, dwelling on the rape allegations and shared widely on Twitter with the hashtag #CosbyMeme.