ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Did Bill Cosby Rape Women for Decades Without Getting Caught?

Updated on June 17, 2017
letstalkabouteduc profile image

I'm fascinated by celebrities and their impact on culture. Whether it's fashion, gender, sexuality, or politics, stars influence society.

How Did America's Favorite Dad Get Away With Rape?

Bill Cosby has been famous for over five decades as a stand-up comic, actor, author, and social commentator on issues such as race, education, and parenting. He was the hip young star of the series, I Spy, in the 1960's, appealing to both blacks and whites. In the 70's, he focused his charm and talent on a younger generation as the good guy host of the Saturday morning cartoon show, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, dispensing advice to children on subjects such as stealing, smoking, and gun violence. During the 80's, he reached a wider audience with the classic family sitcom, The Cosby Show, which ran for eight seasons and earned him the designation, America's favorite dad. Through all five decades and beyond, he was known as the admiring husband of Camille Cosby and the dedicated father of five children. How did this beloved public figure compartmentalize his life to such an extreme, criticizing young black men for wearing sagging pants and listening to rap music while drugging and raping women for decades? How did Bill Cosby, America's dad, get away with rape?

Bill Cosby: Family Man, Actor, Stand-Up Comic, and Serial Rapist

Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, pose for Ebony in 1977 with their five children.
Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, pose for Ebony in 1977 with their five children. | Source

What Does It Mean to Compartmentalize One's Life

Compartmentalization is a term used in psychology for the conscious or subconscious effort to avoid mental discomfort when dealing with conflicting values within one's self. It's a coping mechanism we all use to some extent, sometimes to our benefit and sometimes not. Soldiers compartmentalize as a survival skill, boxing up their fears so they can stay vigilant, focused, and ready for battle. While necessary at the time, their bottling up of emotion may have negative consequences later in life.

Compartmentalization in the News: Bernie Madoff and Bill Cosby

Bernie Madoff infamously compartmentalized his life as he operated a Ponzi scheme, pulling off the biggest financial fraud in U.S. history. He ripped off seniors, charities, friends, and fellow Jews while simultaneously being a devoted father and grandfather, a prominent philanthropist, and husband to Ruth for 50 plus years. For decades Madoff successfully kept the various compartments of his life detached from one another – the illegal business from the legitimate one, the mistress from the wife, the respected financial strategist from the lowlife con man.

But the newly crowned champion of compartmentalizing is Bill Cosby, the once beloved entertainer who has been in the public spotlight for over five decades. In the 60's, 70's, 80's, and beyond, Cosby led a fragmented life that few of us can comprehend let alone pull off like he did. His huge ego – fueled by enormous talent, enduring popularity, and ever-growing wealth and power – combined with his misogyny made him the tormentor of women spanning five decades.

Cosby in the 60's: An Award-Winning Actor, A Newlywed, and a Rapist

Most of us remember Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, the wise father and solicitous husband on the 80's sitcom, The Cosby Show. But in the 1960's, Cosby was a handsome 28-year-old stand-up comic turned actor in the secret-agent adventure show, I Spy. It was his first acting gig, one that earned him a place in the history books as the first black actor to star in an American television drama. He earned three consecutive Emmy awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Dramatic Series for each year the show ran from 1965-1968.

Traveling to exotic locations around the world to film with gorgeous actresses, Cosby's self-confidence swelled and the compartmentalization increased. He married his wife, Camille, in 1964 and a year later they had the first of their five children. Cosby was building a traditional family life for public consumption but constructing an unorthodox private life that included a friendship with Hugh Hefner, frequent visits to the Playboy Club on Hollywood's Sunset strip, and dates with many Playboy bunnies. It was in 1969 that Joan Tarshis, now a 66-year-old writer, claims Cosby drugged and raped her twice when she was 19.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Was Based on Cosby's Childhood and Each Episode Taught a Lesson

Bill Cosby proved his talent by creating, hosting, and producing the show.
Bill Cosby proved his talent by creating, hosting, and producing the show. | Source

Cosby in the 70's: A Moralist, A Misogynist, and a Family Man

Bill Cosby grew up in the 40's and 50's before women's liberation in a household with four brothers and no sisters. He served in the Navy surrounded by men, became good buddies with Hugh Hefner, and frequented the Playboy Club. He was a misogynist in ways both big and small – often treating women with treachery, disdain, and aggression.

In his stand-up act, Cosby tells a story about changing his baby girl's diaper while his dad stands by and laments: “You didn't put the stem on the apple,” adding it's a “shame” the baby is a daughter, not a son. He instructs Cosby to pinch her nose and blow hard into her mouth as this will turn her into a boy. Cosby tries and becomes disappointed when it doesn't work. While the routine gets big chuckles from the live audience, it now seems misogynistic, sad, and extremely telling; Cosby devalues the female gender.

In the 70's Cosby's mistreatment of women contrasted sharply with his new role as creator, producer, and narrator of the animated show based on his childhood, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. The compartmentalization continued as Cosby took on the good-guy persona that would serve him well for decades to come – that of the kindly educator and moral authority, the hip grownup who was willing to teach hard life lessons to children, especially those in the inner-city.

During the 70's, Cosby friendship with Hugh Hefner grew stronger, and he started to spend more time at the Playboy Mansion. His dual life got easier to pull off when he relocated his family to the east coast, purchasing a compound in bucolic Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, where his kids grew up and attended school. With his wife and kids safely tucked away, Cosby was free to continue his nefarious ways with women in California. He admitted in a 2005 deposition that he obtained prescriptions for quaaludes so he could give them to women he wanted to have sex with and that he paid women to keep silent so his wife wouldn't discover his infidelities. He did not confess, however, to having anything but consensual sex. Judy Huth, 57, has filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Cosby, claiming he sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974 when she was just 15.

Bill Cosby Played America's Favorite Dad on The Cosby Show

The Cosby Show was such a hit that the networks demanded more shows with black casts.
The Cosby Show was such a hit that the networks demanded more shows with black casts. | Source

Cosby in the 80's and Beyond: Moral Authority, Elder Statesman, and Hypocrite

Cosby reached his peak of fame in the 80's when he starred on The Cosby Show as the designer-sweater wearing patriarch of the Huxtable clan and quickly became America's favorite TV dad. He had already gained a reputation as the lovable, funny, and trustworthy creator of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and as the face of Jell-O pudding, appearing in countless commercials over the years with young children. With his good-guy image firmly entrenched, Cosby became more brazen, pursuing young women with the modus operandi he had used for years: enticing them with career advice and opportunities, gaining their trust, then drugging and raping them. One of his victims during the 80's was supermodel, Beverly Johnson, who fell into Cosby's clutches when he offered her an audition for The Cosby Show.

Cosby was 47 when The Cosby Show premiered and 55 when it ended. He was no longer the hip young actor from I Spy but a mature role model with strong opinions and moral convictions. Just as his character, Dr. Huxtable, seemed to have all the answers so did Bill Cosby. Both had a thriving career, a beautiful and intelligent wife, and five high-achieving kids. It's no wonder Cosby felt empowered to write books and appear on talk shows, no longer just telling humorous stories but giving advice on parenting, marriage, and education.

While most of his audience continued to revere him, soft rumblings of discontent could be heard from comic insiders who knew of Cosby's secret life and resented his hypocrisy. Some blacks, especially poor ones, felt betrayed by Cosby when he gave his famous “Pound Cake Speech” at a NAACP event in 2004. During the speech, he shamed the African-American community for its high amount of drop-outs, prisoners, and out-of-wedlock births. Positioning himself as a social critic and moral authority, Cosby put a target on his back. Now, as more than 40 women have accused him of drugging and raping them, Cosby finds some blacks gloating over his downfall, not bemoaning it.

Bill Cosby's "Pound Cake Speech" Was Filled With Exaggerations and Inaccuracies

A Future in Court

This is the sad story of how Bill Cosby, America's dad, got away with rape. Today it's impossible to find anything amusing in Bill Cosby's stand-up routines on YouTube. Every tale he tells – once so funny, profound, and touching – now takes on a new, perverted meaning. Cosby at 78 faces a future of endless lawsuits, courtroom appearances, and hefty legal fees. His wife and daughters stay loyal but others have abandoned ship. His legacy – dismantled by his own hands, own hubris, and own hypocrisy – is destroyed.

This Show Deserves Accolades Even If Bill Cosby Doesn't

It would be a shame if people stopped watching The Cosby Show because of the rape accusations against Bill Cosby. This show – with its depiction of a strong, well-educated, and loving black family – meant so much to so many people. Up until its début, too many black families on television got portrayed in a stereotypical way (if they got portrayed at all). Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable is a wonderful husband and dad and should be cherished even if the actor who portrayed him is found guilty of rape.


Bill Cosby's Punishment

What is a just punishment for Bill Cosby?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image
      Author

      McKenna Meyers 22 months ago from Bend, OR

      I never thought I'd be so surprised and disappointed about a celebrity's actions. I thought I was too cynical for that. But the accusations against Cosby have hit me hard because I grew up watching Fat Albert and the Cosby Show. I liked and respected Bill Cosby. However, in researching this Hub, I found out many things about him that were troubling and quite opposite of the image that was built for him. We don't know celebrities at all.

    • profile image

      Susan 22 months ago

      Given all of the women coming forward, his statements in court about giving women Quaaludes, and on stage about wanting to drug women, I don't see how people can not believe this is real. It is very sad on various levels, but it's also important to understand how this happened for so long. Compartmentalization seems like a key ability for him to have developed, and I wonder how common it is in sociopaths.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image
      Author

      McKenna Meyers 2 years ago from Bend, OR

      I think Bill Cosby should hire you for his team! The water is definitely murky with some of the women because the events happened decades ago, drugs and alcohol were involved and, yes, many of them were with Cosby to help their show-biz careers. However, Andrea Constand was the game-changer. She was an outsider; the director of operations for the women's basketball program at Temple University, not an actress, model, or Playboy Bunny. Yes, Cosby is a victim of his fame right now, but he has been a powerful man in entertainment for decades. In interviews about the rapes, you can see how he's used to controlling the situation, manipulating people, and getting his way. He has bought his way out of difficult spots. The media is hitting Cosby hard now but in the past, they've done a lot to protect him -- including killing rape stories.

    • DruStory profile image

      Dru Story 2 years ago from NYC/LA

      Yes we do lol.

      First we have to consider the fact that this is all different from regular rape cases involving regular people. The psychology is different. Most of these women are career opportunists. They've been looking for a comeuppance their whole lives. And Cosby is a very rich man with media attention surrounding him. I don't think the victim is blamed in this case. There's is a reality to this situation that no one puts in the forefront of discussion. Lots of times rapes go unreported. This is true and I give you that. However false reports of rape happen A LOT. The numbers would shock you. Especially when there is a discernible motive ie to hide infidelity from spouse, justify a bad decision, vengeance, sympathy or attention seekers, and...money.

      In these cases there is a lot to gain. Media outlets are pretty much handing wads of cash to anyone that comes forth to say Cosby raped them. And Gloria Allred is also damn near recruiting women like the army. She's enticing them with a possible 100 million dollar civil suit. The motive is right there. Because of this we can't make special rules for women and rape cases. Like any crime it has to be proven. We can never decide to just take someone's word for it without evidence 40 years later. What Gloria Allred is trying to do is evil and she needs to be stopped. This is not the way we should be dealing with rape allegations---especially with all the aforementioned things considered. Smearing this all over the news out of court, especially when many people know a lot of those women are lying is not right Constitutionally or morally.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image
      Author

      McKenna Meyers 2 years ago from Bend, OR

      We've got a healthy debate going on here! I am currently reading Jon Krakauer's "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" and it has influenced the way I look at the Cosby case. Cosby's case has many similarities to rape cases in general: Women rarely report it. The lack of reporting leads to a serial rapist. Drugs and/or alcohol have been consumed by both parties, creating confusion about whether consent was given. Some women were confused about whether they were raped or not. It seems like we haven't made much progress with this issue and things may have actually gotten worse. But why is rape the only crime in which the victim is blamed?

    • DruStory profile image

      Dru Story 2 years ago from NYC/LA

      Here's the thing; of all the women I only believed Barbara Bowman and Heidi Thomas---until I found out what I learned and information people have shown me that I saw for myself. They're lying.

      These women are falling into their own traps. They're trying to get book deals. They're being paid and invited to speak places. Their hiring publicists. They're going on talk shows, radio shows and news shows all over the country--and consequently smaller networks are catching them in lies left and right based on what they've been saying on other shows and programs. People are sorting the lies together but the major networks won't touch it. They're all being called on contradictions or things that would be impossible, then they scurry away and say they don't remember due to trauma then bolt. We have to learn in our country to respect the Constitution and our rights as citizens. We are not supposed to cast judgment and punish people outside of court with no evidence---ESPECIALLY because of 40 year-old allegations from prostitutes, playboy playmates, career opportunists and wannabe actors. In court these women would go down in flames.

      There's no doubt in my mind Cosby used a lot women and got around, but these rape allegations are lies and these women have been getting caught. These women, many of them playboy playmates and whores who hung around Hollywood big wigs are pretending to have been young innocent, naïve poor souls and they're lying for money and relevance---and the media is assisting them with no cross-examination. This isn't right.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image
      Author

      McKenna Meyers 2 years ago from Bend, OR

      I agree that I don't like their affiliation with Gloria Allred, who loves to be at the center of these things. However, I believe these women. There are now more than 40 and they tell similar stories. Plus, I think we -- the American public -- bought into the Hollywood image of Bill Cosby as Dr. Huxtuble -- family man and all-around good guy. The real Bill Cosby was a good friend of Hugh Hefner and hung out at the Playboy Mansion. Plus, in his deposition for Andrea Constand's lawsuit, he admitted to giving Quaaludes to women before having sex with them. Plus, more and more women are coming forward! There's probably some bad apples in the bunch but certainly not all. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • DruStory profile image

      Dru Story 2 years ago from NYC/LA

      I wrote about this too which is why I found your article. I'm sorry, I actually looked into every single case and even spoke with a lawyer friend I met through blogging who was a lawyer for 30 years who agreed, without a doubt almost all these women are lying through their teeth and are being paid by tabloids. I know you have good intentions, but many of us are coasting on media disinformation and sensationalism but don't really know what these women actually said and how they been tripping up BIG time and no one notices. You can't say these women have nothing to gain but of course that's not true. Their getting attention, purpose and money. And they have similar stories because obviously they are dog-piling with Gloria Allred. Open your eyes.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image
      Author

      McKenna Meyers 2 years ago from Bend, OR

      Many of us wanted these accusations to be false, but now we have over 40 women with similar stories. Many of them are in their 50s and 60s with nothing to gain but a chance to finally tell of their ordeal and be believed.

    • profile image

      Steve 2 years ago

      "How America's dad got away with rape", your title should be "how America got away with convicting a man who hasn't been charged with a crime in a court of law. I looked up what some of these women actually said on record and it's pathetic. Killed via tabloids from liars and money seeking opportunists. Welcome to America.