In the wake of the criminal charges filed against legendary comedian and actor Bill Cosby, the voices that once supported the star have suddenly grown silent.
And, while the Smithsonian Museum and Ben’s Chili Bowl here in the District still grapple with continuing their ties to the “Let’s Do it Again” star, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad and even Cosby’s own family members have publicly backed away from their earlier proclamations.
Meanwhile, a number of the star’s accusers have filed defamation lawsuits that have dragged Camille Cosby into the fray even though it could be argued that she’s the primary – if not the only – victim.
“There is a systematic effort to destroy every Black male entertainer’s image,” said comedian Eddie Griffin, who starred in the 1990s hit television show “Malcolm & Eddie” which featured “Cosby Show” star Malcolm Jamal Warner.
On Wednesday, Dec. 30, the last day before the statute of limitations would run out, a Pennsylvania District Attorney filed felony sexual assault charges against Cosby in a case that stemmed from accusations made by Andrea Constand, who settled a civil lawsuit with the actor a decade ago.
If convicted, the comedic icon could go to prison for 10 years and be forced to register as a sex offender.
Cosby, who is due back in court on Jan. 14, is free on $1 million bail.
After Cosby was charged, his D.C.-based attorney Monique D. Pressley released a statement saying, “Make no mistake, we intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law.”
Camille Cosby, who married the actor when she was 19, was not with him when her husband was arraigned. Last year, she released a statement in his support.
However, like so many others, even she has gone silent with Griffin being among the very few to still speak out in Cosby’s defense.
“They want us all [Black entertainers] to have an asterisk by our name,” Griffin said, even dismissing the drugging allegations levied by the alleged victim in the criminal case and the more than 50 women who have come forward in the past year to accuse Cosby.
“First off, you have to remember this was in the ’70s. I’m old enough to remember the ‘70s. The ‘70s is a different time,” Griffin said, echoing what “Good Times” star Jimmy Walker said earlier this year that Quaaludes were frequently used to help people level out after cocaine use.
Griffin then hinted that if anyone is the victim, it’s not the women who are making the allegations.
“Did he rape these [women]? he said. “Why would you go to the room of a known married man?”
Camille Cosby, who years ago publicly acknowledged her husband’s infidelities during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, is now being forced to give a deposition in a civil case against her husband with the lawyers for the accusers, wanting to question her about Bill Cosby’s “sexual proclivities.”
In an interview earlier this year with the Rev. Carl Dianda, the D.C. priest who performed the Cosby couple’s marriage ceremony 51 years ago, Dianda said Camille didn’t deserve any of what was happening.
Dianda had vowed to remain available and helpful to the Cosby family.
“I will help Camille and Bill in any way that they want me to,” the retired priest said. “I’m not going to be embarrassed to say anything. What I know is what I know, and Bill has never done anything to embarrass anyone.”