After a year in which more than 50 women have come forth accusing Bill Cosby of rape and sexual assault, the former well-loved comic is now suing several of the women for defamation.
“Mr. Cosby states plainly that he neither drugged nor sexually assaulted the defendants and that each defendant has maliciously and knowingly published multiple false statements and accusations from Fall 2014 through the current day in an effort to cause damage to Mr. Cosby’s reputation and to extract financial gains,” Monique Pressley, Cosby’s attorney, told USA Today.
While the court will decide the validity of his claim, Cosby admitted to these type of actions under oath ten years ago in a different jurisdiction, suggesting that if anyone is to be held accountable for the current state of Cosby’s image, it is Cosby, himself.
Following the hypocrisy between Cosby’s public persona as “America’s Dad” and the growing sexual assault accusations, Judge Eduardo Robreno of the United States District Court in Philadelphia, PA in July released the deposition papers of a 2005 case he oversaw where Andrea Constand, a staff member with the basketball program at Temple University, filed a civil suit against Cosby that was settled in 2006. While on trial, Cosby admitted to using quaaludes to have sex with women in the 1970s and 1980s.
At the time, quaaludes were considered a party drug. While it did have medical uses, for instance as a sedative for anxiety, the consistent misuse of quaaludes led to a ban of the drug in 1984. Victims who testified in the 2005 case described feelings of dizziness, vomiting and fatigue, symptoms associated with the drug, prior to the moments they were assaulted.
Cosby maintained that the use of the drugs was consensual. However, given Cosby’s admission for using drugs that incapacitate users specifically for sex, designating these encounters as consensual proves duplicitous and unfounded.
Since the release of the deposition, a number of colleges and universities have rescinded honorary degrees given to the comedian and actor. Some institutions have taken other steps to sever ties with Cosby. In July, Spellman College discontinued an endowed professorship named after Cosby following a $20 million donation given to the school by Cosby and his wife, Camille, in 1988. Disney’s Hollywood Studios removed a statue bust of the actor at its theme park.
“This was expected,” Joseph Cammarata, the attorney to the seven women Cosby is countersuing, told USA Today. “It’s a page out of a defense lawyer’s playbook. It’s curious to me how there can be scores of other ladies who have come out, and yet Mr. Cosby has singled out seven of them to bring a claim against. It seems a bit retaliatory to me.”
Contrary to Cosby’s expectations, his public persona could not save him from ridicule, and this lawsuit appears to be little more than a desperate attempt to deflect taking responsibility for his actions and the consequences that accompany them.
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