I’m A Hypocrite When It Comes to Dr. Huxtable

I’m A Hypocrite When It Comes to Dr. Huxtable

Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,25 November 2014

The Snap:

For all my railing against victim blaming (like here and here), I have to admit I’ve been a hypocrite when it comes to Bill Cosby. Well, maybe hypocrite isn’t the right word but I’ve been trying to ignore the reporting on the comedian’s recent downfall  and the onslaught of people coming forward to accuse him of sexual assault. I belong to the age group raised by the Huxtables, Keatons, Seavers, and Sugarbakers. With childhood memories so wrapped up in Bill Cosby and his TV family, I’ve been avoiding thinking too much about whether or not he’s guilty. I suspect I’m not alone in this.

The Download:

We’re a weird society. Generally willing to believe the worst about most people, there are a few where we refuse to acknowledge the mere possibility that they did some truly terrible things. We want the entertainers we see on stage and screen to be the most iconic characters they’re associated with — not just portray them. I want to believe that Meg Ryan is the girl next door, Tom Hanks is the nicest man alive, Robin Williams was Professor Keating, and Bill Cosby was America’s best and funniest dad.

This idealizing of our idols isn’t a new thing. People had a hard time believing that large-eared crooner Bing Crosby abused his family or that America’s sweetheart Eddie Fisher abandoned his daughter at the age of 3. It took me a while but I’ve grown disgusted with my own hypocrisy. I didn’t yank my own head out of the sand until the lunacy of Don Lemon’s interview where he asked a victim reportedly sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby why she didn’t bite his dick. That’s when I realized that though I’ve never uttered anything as idiotic as Lemon, I’ve been thinking to myself, “Why didn’t these women come forward earlier?”

The answer to that is as obvious as it is appallingly tragic. They didn’t come forward because they didn’t think anyone would believe them. And why should they have thought any differently? Bill Cosby is a man who had been nearly universally adored. It would be like claiming Santa Claus had molested you. No one would want to believe you. Everyone would want you to sit down and shut up. Even if Bill Cosby wasn’t the megastar he has been, our society overwhelming favors blaming the victim. We talk about what she was wearing and how much she drank as if those things meant she deserved to be raped.

I’m not suggesting we drop the idea “innocent until proven guilty;” I’m just saying we should apply that concept evenly. Why do so many people assume the women coming forward to accuse Cosby of sexual assault are lying? Why do we assume they’re in it for the publicity? Stop what you are doing and think about that. Why would we be moronic enough to think that people enjoyed speaking out against a nationally revered figure to say graphically and humiliatingly how they were violated?


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