Bill Cosby’s doctorate from the University of Massachusetts is in education, but he felt compelled to list himself as “Dr. Bill Cosby” in the credits of “The Cosby Show.”
In retrospect, that listing of credentials irrelevant to the production of a TV situation comedy now looks like a need to declare “I’m smarter than you.”
Through the years, after his groundbreaking success in stand-up comedy and television, Cosby presented himself as someone who could tell other people what to do: He told other comedians what words they shouldn’t use in their routines (profanity, specifically), and he told young black men how they should dress.
“I’m smarter than you” was the undercurrent. I’m Dr. Bill Cosby.
Now we know he also thought he was smart enough to get away with rape.
Cosby’s 2005 admission that he drugged women to have sex with them was the most compelling piece of evidence leading a Pennsylvania jury to finding him guilty of sexual assault, one of the jurors told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on April 30.
That admission, which the actor made when he was facing a civil lawsuit, had also been a key piece of evidence for prosecutors in Cosby’s first trial on the charges, which ended last year with that jury unable to reach a verdict, Reuters reported.
“It was his deposition,” Harrison Snyder, 22, told ABC. “Mr. Cosby admitted to giving these Quaaludes to women, young women, in order to have sex with them.”
Cosby faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in the next three months for drugging and raping Andrea Constand, 45, in 2004 at his home in a Philadelphia suburb.
The seven-man, five-woman jury that included Snyder reached a unanimous decision on April 26 after 12 hours of deliberations, about 10 months after the previous jury deadlocked in his first trial on the same charges, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.
In the deposition from the 2005 civil lawsuit filed by Constand, Cosby described giving drugs, including the sedative Quaaludes, and alcohol to women before sex, hosting Constand at his home and a slew of other acts.
Prosecutors presented new witnesses at Cosby’s most recent trial that the judge had blocked them from calling in 2017, including five other women who accused him of drugging and assaulting them.
Snyder told ABC that he had been unfamiliar with Cosby and the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment before the trial because he does not watch the news and that he was not initially sure that Cosby was guilty. He was convinced after hearing the evidence.
“If you were there, you would say the same thing. You would say that he’s guilty,” Snyder said. “I have no doubt at all.”
Constand is among the more than 60 women who have accused Cosby of rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. But because the statute of limitations has expired in nearly all of the accusations, Constand will likely be the only woman victimized by Cosby to have her day in court.
There’s something else, on a far less important level: We loved Cosby’s stand-up comedy and we were among the millions who enjoyed “The Cosby Show” in the 1980s. It’s hard to reconcile the image of the profanity-free comedian and the patriarch of the traditional-values family, Cliff Huxtable, with the man now convicted of drugging and raping a woman and accused of doing the same to dozens more. Or, as a headline in a Philadelphia magazine report on Cosby once put it: Dr. Huxtable and Mr. Hyde.
A man who was once a beloved entertainer is now a convicted rapist. He should go to prison for his crime.
It also turns out he wasn’t too smart or too powerful to get caught.