What's next for Cosby and his tainted legacy?
Bill Cosby, 80-years-old, was found guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault by a Norristown, Pennsylvania jury on Thursday, April 26. The verdict came on its second day of deliberations at the Montgomery County Courthouse.
He was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a woman he mentored while she was working at Temple University at his suburban home near Philadelphia in 2004.
This was the second time Cosby faced a jury on this issue as the trial from summer 2017 ended in a deadlock.
The three felony counts of sexual assault were penetration after administering an intoxicant, penetration with lack of consent and penetration while unconscious. Each count is punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.
While dozens of women claimed that they had also been assaulted by Cosby, the statute of limitations had run out on most of them. So, the fact that this case was brought to justice 14 years after the assault took place may give cold comfort to many of the other people who reported that he hurt them too.
In fact, these women have been an important part of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
What next for the man?
District attorney Kevin R. Steele requested that Cosby's $1 million bail be revoked, insinuating that it would be easy for him to board his plane. Cosby, speaking in the third person yelled, “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole, as reported in the New York Times.
Judge Steven T. O'Neil shot down the outburst but did not revoke bail since the authorities have his passport and do not believe him to be a flight risk.
Some of his accusers reacted positively to his guilty verdict.
— TIME (@TIME) April 26, 2018
Judge O'Neil did not set a sentencing date, but that generally happens within 100 days of a trial's conclusion.
Cosby did not comment when leaving the courthouse, but his attorney said that they would appeal the case.
What's next for his legacy?
Cosby had been considered to be one of the most celebrated entertainers in the world. His fall from grace is near complete. Most of his honors have already been stripped from him, but some will not be, despite the guilty verdict.
As tough as it may be for some to accept, Bill Cosby earned many of his awards and accolades during his 50+ years in the entertainment industry, they were not honorary and will not be rescinded.
While honorary awards and degrees can and have been stripped from many organizations and institutions, others cannot be because he actually achieved them.
Regarding his education, he did earn a bachelor’s degree from Temple University in 1971 despite having a long time between his start and end. In 1973, he received a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and in 1976 he got his Doctor of Education degree from the latter as well. While liberties may have been given due to his celebrity and life experience, these were not honorary titles. He also served in the U.S. Navy for four years.
His comedy album To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With was voted #1 on Spin Magazines list of "The 40 Greatest Comedy Albums of All Time,” calling it "stand-up comedy's masterpiece.” He was the first African-American to win an Emmy award for I Spy in 1966. His comedy recordings yielded many Grammys over the decades. The 1983 concert film Bill Cosby: Himself is often considered to be one of, if not the best comedy concert ever performed. His body of work granted him a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame awarded in 1977. The lifetime achievement award from the Kennedy Center Honors came in 1998 and in 2002 came the highest American civilian award possible: the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to television. These are unlikely to ever be rescinded as he did earn them through his work.
One question that has been posed is what should happen with his former work, especially The Cosby Show?
The Cosby Show lives on in syndication and on Amazon Prime, but some wonder if it should?
It is likely that networks running it will receive plenty of hate mail and threats to discontinue service, as well as loss of sponsors, but the syndicated ratings are pretty good for a tainted program that ended more than 30 years ago.
But, who wouldn’t want to see Alicia Keys as an adorable little girl?
While Bill Cosby would benefit from it personally, so would the cast, crew, writers and fans who feel a void as an important part of their past have been wiped from modern culture.
Perhaps though it is the price that must be paid?
Bill Cosby will likely be sentenced in the next 100 days. TheCelebrityCafe.com will alert you as soon as we learn the specifics.
What do you think Bill Cosby's sentence should be?