What I Don't Understand: Bill Cosby vs Cliff Huxtable
Why is it so hard to separate fact from fiction?
They say never meet your heroes, you'll just end up disappointed. I have never met Bill Cosby, and I'm still disappointed. Bill Cosby was never my hero, he wasn't someone I aspired to be, I didn't know much about him other than he starred in some movies with Sidney Poitier, was in I Spy, created Fat Albert and portrayed Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show.
The Cosby Show was the first sitcom I fell in love with. The show was funny, insightful, and felt real. Not the kind of real I was use to, I mean no one I knew had a doctor for a father and a mother who was a lawyer, and four siblings who for the most part was well behaved. No it felt real as in if these people did exists this is how they would act.
But they weren't real and I knew that. I know Bill Cosby is not an ob/gyn, I know his wife's name is Camille not Claire, I know his son Enis is no longer alive, and there aren't any dead Huxtable kids. Rumors of an illegitimate child surfaced in the late 90s, and Cliff wouldn't dare cheat on Claire, she would put him in a headlock, and a promise of a new car wouldn't be enough for his only son Theo to have his back. Soon after rape allegations came.
They were largely ignored by the public, even though newspapers, and news outlets covered the story, no one had the time or wanted to believe that "America's Favorite Dad" could do such a thing. They were right "America's Favorited Dad" would never do such a thing, but Bill Cosby could.
Through the power of television Bill Cosby was able to cement in the minds of millions that he was Cliff Huxtable, a man who loved his wife, children, jazz music and hoagies from the White House. A man who practiced medicine in a small office out of his Brooklyn brownstone, a man who wanted nothing more than for his five children to leave the house and stay gone. A man who probably wouldn't have been friends with Bill Cosby.
As of this writing 17 women have come forward. 17 supposed strangers have come forth and accused Bill Cosby of drugging them, sexual assault and/or rape all supposedly happening between the years of 1967 and 1992. Since this news has resurfaced Netflix has put Cosby's special (originally set to air the day after Thanksgiving) on hold. NBC has scrapped plans to produce a new sitcom with Cosby and TVLand has pulled The Cosby show reruns from its lineup.
Other entertainers who don't portray to be anyone but themselves sometimes don't seem to receive the same backlash. Michael Jackson was accused of child molestation, R. Kelly illegally married a then 15 year old Aaliyah, in 2002 Kelly was charged with 21 counts of child pornography steaming from a video of a man who resembled R. Kelly performing sexual acts on an underage girl. And in 2005 Chris Brown was charged with domestic violence in an incident that left pop singer Rihanna with disturbing facial injuries that required her to be hospitalized.
Urban and pop stations still play songs from all three artists. Michael Jackson has sold more albums since his death than over the last 13 years of his life, R. Kelly performed a medley of his songs at the 2013 BET Awards before releasing Black Panties his 12th studio album later that year. Meanwhile this year Chris Brown's "Loyal" (which gained the most traction while he was in jail for getting kicked out of rehab) was a platinum single for the artist. Chris Brown is the only one who plead guilty as Michael Jackson and R. Kelly were not found guilty and just dealt with allegations.
Why does it seem like the public can separate the art from the man in the case of those three singers, but not so much when it comes to Bill Cosby? Shouldn't child molestation and domestic violence against women hold the same weight as rape? Is it because R. Kelly and Chris Brown are sexually charged singers who benefit from a bad boy image and Michael Jackson was always looked at as weird. Whereas Bill Cosby didn't curse on stage, he pushed J-E-L-L-O and made you wish your father was as understanding as Dr. Huxtable.
These rape allegations don't effect my childhood. Hannibal Buress, the comedian who can take some of the credit for bringing this back to forefront, stated after his rant that he wanted to make it weird the next time we watched The Cosby Show. The next time I watch The Cosby Show it won't be weird. Not because I think Bill Cosby is not guilty, but because I know Cliff Huxtable is innocent.