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Comedy vs. Comedian

By Violet Radmacher-Willis, Reporter

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Since the Harvey Weinstein revelation about a year ago, many famous men have been exposed for abuse of women. It revealed a new side of Hollywood that had not been previously brought to light.

One of the more recent cases, that has really captured my attention, is the Bill Cosby case. Cosby, an 80-year-old comedian from Philadelphia, was a popular household name all over the United States. His humor drew from his life experiences from when he was a child all the way up to when he was married with five children. He even had one of the most popular network shows of all time that he starred in called “The Cosby Show.”

After one mistrial last year, Cosby was convicted at the end of April of drugging and raping a woman. But, this case was not an isolated one. Many accusers had come forward stemming from assaults over the past five decades. However, due to the statute of limitations, women who were assaulted by Cosby many years ago couldn’t pursue charges now because the amount of time they had to bring their case to court had expired. Many victims also feared what might happen to them if they came forward and told their story. This resulted in only one out of the 60 accusers actually bringing successful charges in her case against Cosby. Her name is Andrea Constand.

Constand was the director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater. She met Cosby in 2002 at the age of 29 through a mutual friend. In 2004 she was raped by him in his Elkins Park mansion. Some argue that it was her fault. She was in his mansion under her own pretenses. This victim blamer point of view does not look at this situation reasonably. Constand had previously known Cosby under the shroud of friendship, for two years. A famous actor and comedian such as Cosby, who is portrayed by the media as a father figure does not make a young women think SEXUAL PREDATOR.

On April 26, Cosby was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault and is looking at up to 30 years in prison. Five women testified against him and were successful in not only putting their attacker in prison but also empowering silenced victims of sexual abuse everywhere. “I feel like my faith in humanity is restored,” says accuser Lili Bernard.

I was raised in a household that listened to Bill Cosby at any spare moment. Our inside jokes were filled with his most famous comedic lines. For my ninth birthday I got tickets to see him live. So when I first heard about Bill Cosby and the very plausible allegations made against him, I was heartbroken. I soon stopped listening to his comedy. I’ve tried not to even think about him.

Recently, I have been questioning the choice to cut this influential and groundbreaking comedian out of my life. I find Cosby a disgusting and vile human being. But there is a question that has been plaguing me for some time. Is it possible to separate the comedy from the comedian? The more and more I think about it and discuss it with others the more I realize I might not be able to.  

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Comedy vs. Comedian