Cosby is convicted, and of aggravated indecent assault, no less. A few years back, that verdict would have been all but unthinkable. Sure, there were rumors, but this was Bill Cosby, America’s dad, thanks to his massively successful run as Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. He was the stand-up comedian, who build a career working ‘clean,’ as well as the pudding pop guy, and the creator of the successful Saturday morning cartoon Fat Albert. Bill Cosby was as family friendly a brand as you could get … but not anymore. Now it appears Cosby will die in prison.
Despite the defense team’s claim to fight on, this one is done. The verdict was delivered. Guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for “drugging and sexually assaulting” Andrea Constand back in 2004. Cosby is a rapist, in the minds of tens of millions of people who used to love the guy. No matter what happens next in the court case, the very fact that there was a conviction in this one sealed the deal for most people. They may not like it, they may struggle to connect this version of Cosby with the one they grew up loving, but this is where we are. The Cosby brand is in tatters, and the damage looks permanent.
At this point, the final memory many people will have of Bill Cosby is the comedian erupting in rage when prosecutors asked the judge in the case to revoke Cosby’s bail. He’s a flight risk, they argued, and he has his own plane. Cosby, who had been quiet while the verdict was read, erupted, “He doesn’t have a plane, you a**…”
Cosby was granted bail, though he will have to wear a GPS monitor if he wants to stay at any of his four homes. So, he’s not in prison yet, but the verdict itself was huge. A previous, similar case ended in a mistrial, and some Cosby enthusiasts started thinking this whole thing was beginning to sound like a witch hunt. With this verdict, those voices are, essentially, silenced.
The headlines now are quoting many Cosby accusers, women who waited beyond the statute of limitations to speak out. They are saying this verdict is vindicating for them as well, that they can have closure after all these years. Coming during the height of #MeToo, this sentiment is gaining huge traction in both the media and the public consciousness.
The fun, family-friendly guy is tagged as a serial predator, and his victims have become heroes in a movement that appears to continue to build steam.