The bad news for Bill Cosby keeps coming with TV Land now pulling syndicated broadcasts of The Cosby Show from the air. And, more damning, the AP has released the clip above, which now includes a previously unpublished segment where Cosby not only offers up a “no comment” on questions about the rape allegations, but then proceeds to talk to the reporter about “integrity” and ask that the portion with the “no comment” exchange be squashed. It’s cringeworthy.
The interview was conducted on November 6. The AP spoke with both Cosby and his wife about a Smithsonian exhibit in which the couple donated 50 pieces of African American artwork.
It’s just one more blow to Cosby’s credibility, which some say has been irreparably damaged.
These allegations would be damaging no matter who was being accused. But Cosby occupied such a rarefied cultural position — America’s dad, a trusted spokesperson, an all-around good guy — that these charges are particularly hurtful to him and his brand.
“He was the Peyton Manning of his generation,” Jason Maloni, head of sports and entertainment at Levick, told Bloomberg. Maloni is a crisis management specialist. “Companies loved him. He was a home run when it came to endorsing products. That is never again going to be.”
These allegations come as Cosby was meant to be promoting now-canceled projects and a stand up tour that’s proceeding as planned. In keeping his silence, he’s also declined comment during an interview with NPR, canceled appearances on talk shows and let his lawyers speak for him, even on his own website.
But according to Frank Luntz, another crisis comms expert and a CBS News contributor, Cosby has to come out and tell the truth. Not in a written statement, but sitting in front of a camera speaking about this situation. According to Luntz, we’ve reached the point where there have been enough accusations to make the charges sound like fact “to the ear of the average American.”
“And Cosby’s response, that non-response, once you have three people, you’re going to be expected to say a lot more,” he continues.
What he’s asking is huge: For Cosby to come out and acknowledge that he did these things, if he did in fact do them. But at this point, ignoring these allegations aren’t making them go away.
The entire CBS segment is below.