Opinion: Are there skeletons in Bill Cosby’s closet or fame-hungry accusers?

Carley Hull is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Carley Hull

The quintessential sitcom dad, Bill Cosby, hasn’t been in the news for his fatherly persona, but instead has come under scrutiny for possibly being a rapist. After comedian Hannibal Buress accused Cosby of being a rapist in his standup act in October, a meme challenge on Cosby’s Twitter called #cosbymeme went horribly wrong with a seemingly innocent picture of Cosby turning into a face of rape memes like “My two favorite things jello pudding & rape.

The last two months have been a mess of accusations and no answers from Cosby posing the question: Is America’s father figure hiding a dark secret or are these women out to get in a few headlines or possibly monetary damages?

This is not the first time women have came forward with sexual assault accusations against Cosby. Since 2005, a total of 13 women have claimed that Cosby sexually assaulted them in some way. In 2006, Cosby’s lawyers settled out-of-court with Andrea Constand, who sued Cosby for raping her, while Cosby said their relationship was consensual.

While it is not surprising many of the women are just now speaking up since 60 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police, according to The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), is this a case of silence or vengeance?

Former aspiring actress and model Barbara Bowman published an op-ed in the Washington Post accusing Cosby of drugging and raping her in 1985. Bowman claimed that Cosby was her mentor and helped coach her to be an actress, but eventually alienated her. While it all appears plausible that Bowman could be telling the truth, she has not filed a lawsuit and I have seen no substantial evidence of the relationship except one photo of Cosby without her in it.

Is Cosby not responding to her claims because he is guilty, or are the PR people and lawyers behind Cosby keeping him silent for fear of more reaction? In an interview with National Public Radio on Saturday, Nov. 15, Cosby refused to talk about the allegations, keeping the public further away from an answer. I just want to hear Cosby’s side already. As more women come forward, the more it is looking like he has a dark, horrible secret that should not go unpunished.

Another woman named Tamara Green was interviewed by Newsweek about her rape accusations against Cosby. From there the accusations start to pile up.

As a woman, I initially want to commiserate with Bowman and the other women who accused Cosby of rape, but I also want the facts. I want evidence as well as the truth, and I want a response from Cosby to provide truth. The climbing number of women accusing Cosby, however, may well be that truth. While myself and others can hope none of this is true, the accusations could be the beginning of the ugly truth. The harsh reality of all this is that it could be true and a household name could be forever tarnished. More alarming than a reputation is that if these women were harmed by Cosby, they have been dealing with it alone for years with no consequences for their attacker. “The Cosby Show” could become a sick ironic joke and “Kid’s Say the Darndest Things” could be unwatchable.