National News

Cosby’s Wife Cites Emmett Till Case

Posted May 3, 2018 4:51 p.m. EDT
Updated May 3, 2018 4:54 p.m. EDT

Camille Cosby, the wife of disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, disparaged the media, Bill Cosby’s accusers and his prosecutors in a caustic statement released Thursday, her first public comments since Cosby was convicted of sexual assault last week. She called for a criminal investigation of the Montgomery County district attorney and repeatedly suggested that Cosby was targeted because of his race.

In a three-page release, Camille Cosby explicitly blamed the media for Bill Cosby’s fate in court, citing what she called a “frenzied, relentless demonization of him and unquestioning acceptance of accusers’ allegations without any attendant proof.” She went on to say, “Bill Cosby was labeled as guilty because the media and accusers said so.”

Once again, Bill Cosby was compared to Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old who was lynched in 1955 after being falsely accused of leering at a white woman. Last week, Bill Cosby’s publicist, Ebonee Benson, went on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and likened Cosby to Till.

This time, it was Camille Cosby.

“Since when are all accusers truthful? History disproves that,” she said in her statement, adding, “Emmett Till’s accuser immediately comes to mind.”

Camille Cosby also cited Darryl Hunt, an African-American who served 19 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a 1984 murder. He was released in 2004, years after DNA evidence cleared him of the crime.

She also accused Andrea Constand, whose sexual assault complaint led to the conviction, of perjury, saying that her testimony was filled with “innumerable, dishonest contradictions.”

A lawyer for Constand, Dolores M. Troiani, said in a statement, “Twelve honorable people — a jury of Cosby’s peers — have spoken. There’s nothing else to say.”

Camille Cosby saved her angriest barbs for the Montgomery County district attorney’s office of Kevin R. Steele.

“I am publicly asking for a criminal investigation of that district attorney and his cohorts,” Camille Cosby said. “This is a homogeneous group of exploitive and corrupt people, whose primary purpose is to advance themselves professionally and economically at the expense of Mr. Cosby’s life. If they can do this to Mr. Cosby, they can do so to anyone.”

The district attorney’s office declined to comment. But reaction was swift on social media, where most commenters took issue with the comparison to Till’s killing.

“Camille Cosby shattering her own legacy in service of her rapist husband just breaks my heart,” author Roxane Gay wrote.

Keith Boykin, an author and White House aide in the Clinton administration, suggested that Camille Cosby refer to her husband’s famous and controversial 2004 speech at an NAACP event, where he said that African-Americans should take more responsibility for their own lives and that they should not “blame the white people any longer.”

This wasn’t the first time Camille Cosby issued such a statement, nor was it the first time she expressed her long-standing belief that the media treats African-Americans unfairly.

After Bill Cosby’s first criminal case ended in a mistrial in June, she said, “How do I describe the district attorney? Heinously and exploitively ambitious. How do I describe the judge? Overtly and arrogantly collaborating with the district attorney. How do I describe the counsels for the accusers? Totally unethical.”

Bill Cosby, who was convicted of three felonies, faces up to 10 years for each count, but his lawyers have said they will appeal the verdict. He is free on bail awaiting sentencing.

His public downfall, however, continues. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Thursday that it had expelled Cosby, as well as director Roman Polanski, who fled the United States in 1978 while awaiting sentencing for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.

Yale University announced Wednesday that it would revoke the honorary degree that Cosby received in 2003.

A number of other institutions have done likewise, including, on Thursday, the State University of New York, which revoked an honorary doctorate that Cosby received in 2000 from SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.