By Alexa Gonzales
Bill Cosby’s reputation as America’s favorite fatherly comedian seems to be lost as more and more rape accusations are made against him.
This past week, the media went into a whirlwind as several women came forward claiming they were drugged and raped by Cosby, 77, and old allegations also resurfaced. Now, a total of 15 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault.
The claims began back in 2004 when Andrea Constand filed a lawsuit against Cosby, stating that he drugged and molested her that year.
In 2005, Tamara Green, a California lawyer, appeared on the Today Show and made a similar claim saying Cosby gave her pills and then molested her in the 1970s.
Barbara Bowman, an actress who was mentored by Cosby, also came forward and spoke about being sexually assaulted by Cosby in the 1980s.
While more stories came to light, but were denied by Cosby over the decade, the topic reemerged this October during comedian Hannibal Burress’ set in Philadelphia. Burress openly joked about Cosby’s rape accusations, calling him a “serial rapist” and the “smuggest old black man.”
After Burress’ jokes, more rape allegations spread in the media. On November 16, Joan Tarshis came forward and claimed Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her twice in 1969.
Tarshis, who was approached by Cosby to help write comedy material, stated that Cosby’s tactics were recurring: “He works with people, he gets you into a position where you think you’re going to work with him, and then he drugs you and rapes you.”
The following day, well-known supermodel Janis Dickinson appeared on Entertainment Tonight and said that Cosby raped her in 1982.
Cosby has kept quiet amongst this frenzy, refusing to answer questions regarding the accusations in an NPR interview on November 15 and canceling scheduled television appearances for this week.
Cosby’s PR team has also been quiet, despite a misguided attempt to stifle controversy by releasing a meme generator tweet from Cosby’s twitter account on November 10. The meme generator only encouraged the Internet’s digs at Cosby and the tweet was later deleted.
As a result of this scandal, television projects that were in the works for Cosby have been cancelled. Netflix has postponed its airing of the Bill Cosby Comedy Show special and NBC has ended development of a new Cosby show. TV Land has even stopped playing reruns of The Cosby Show.
The future for Cosby is unclear as he remains silent and the stories continue to grow. However, the piling accusations have surely dimmed the once bright legacy of the famous comedian.