Bill Cosby, who became something of a national father figure as Heathcliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show, is facing increasing pressure to address serious allegations of rape and sexual assault by multiple women. Asked directly and repeatedly on Saturday about the allegations on a national NPR interview, Cosby responded with complete silence.
SCOTT SIMON: “This question gives me no pleasure Mr. Cosby, but there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days.”
BILL COSBY: [SILENCE]
SIMON: “You’re shaking your head no. I’m in the news business. I have to ask the question. Do you have any response to those charges?”
SIMON: “Shaking your head no. There are people who love you who might like to hear from you about this. I want to give you the chance.”
You can listen to the awkward exchange here.
The allegations against Cosby, which have been public since at least 2004, have attracted increased interest after they became the subject of a standup routine by comic Hannibal Buress.
He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.
Barbara Bowman, one of Cosby’s accusers who has spoken publicly about the alleged assault for 10 years, has “struggled to get people to take my story seriously.” Why was it, Bowman asked, “[o]nly after a man, Hannibal Buress, called Bill Cosby a rapist in a comedy act last month did the public outcry begin in earnest.”
Despite the controversy, Cosby recently inked a deal with NBC to create a new sitcom.
Cosby has never been charged with rape. He did settle a lawsuit in 2006 filed by one of his accusers out of court. The terms of the settlement remain confidential.
Bill Cosby’s lawyer, John P. Schmitt, released a statement Sunday saying they would not “dignify these allegations with any comment.” Full statement below:
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.