Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial began yesterday in Norristown, Pennsylvania, but Bill’s enabling and complicit wife didn’t appear with him. Smart move by defense counsel: Camille Cosby’s almost certain knowledge of her husband/meal ticket’s infidelity and worse makes the pair seem like a couple of monsters, and the jury would be conflicted seeing Mrs. Cosby sitting in court as women described being drugged and assaulted by Funny Bill while her husband’s defense was not “I didn’t do it” but “it was consensual.” Still, having Cosby entering the Montgomery County courtroom without family present would send the message that he was being shunned by those who know him best. What to do?
Eureka! Have the accused serial sexually predator accompanied by a member of the family the public knows and loves best, his TV family from “The Cosby Show! Perfect! It sends the message that he is still supported and loved by those who know him. It proves that he has not been abandoned and shunned. Best of all, such an entrance makes Cosby appear to be the nice, ethical, fatherly Bill Cosby everyone thinks they know, the one who raised four adorable girls and who had a beautiful feminist wife, a noble and moral man who would never, never do the things that over 50 women say he did to them, the money-grubbing sluts.
So instead of his real-life wife, Cosby was guided into the courtroom by former television daughter Keishia Knight Pulliam, who played the cute little one, adorable Rudy, from 1984 to 1992. Pulliam agreed to be a prop, in other words, a prop designed to help implant reasonable doubt in a case where reasonable doubt will be hard to come by. Bias and cognitive dissonance helps, though. Rudy is there to help “Dad” by nourishing bias as a jury considers Andrea Constand’s lon-standing accusation that Cosby drugged and molester her.
Of Knight Pulliam’s presence, Cosby’s spokesperson Andrew Wyatt said: “She’s not here to proclaim guilt or innocence. She’s here to finally hear the truth for herself in the courtroom. She wants people to stop listening to the sensationalism and come hear the truth.” Nonsense. If Pulliam wanted to do just that, she could have arrived at the courtroom like anyone else, and sat quietly among the spectators. Instead, she was playing a role calculated to make it harder for a jury to see through Cosby’s celebrity and public persona. She knew it, too.
Why would an alleged feminist ally herself with a sexual predator and against so many women? Well, it can’t hurt Pulliam’s career any, since she barely has a career. She has been languishing in post-child star Hell for sometime now, going the “She’s all grown up and she’s bad’ route that worked out so well for Lindsay Lohan; the Cosby trial gig—no, I don’t think its unfair to ask if she was paid—at least reminds people that Rudy is 38 and still around. Maybe a reality show producer is watching.
Last year, Pulliam had Amber Rose on her podcast “Kandidly Keshia”—I’m sure you never miss it-—to promote Rose’s “Slut Walk” event designed to end slut-shaming. When he mentioned Cosby, she responded,
“I feel you, and everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but we still live in a country where you’re innocent till proven guilty. And I understand everything that’s happened, and me being a feminist and believing women—no means no and I get that—but, just so you know, I did work with him for a really long time. I love him dearly still and that isn’t the man that I know.”
Translation: My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts. Maybe this statement led to the phone call from Cosby’s lawyer.
This is not a case where a responsible individual decides they should be siding with the defendant.
Constand filed a police complaint in 2005 about the night a year earlier when, allegedly, Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her. She was not the first woman who had given accounts of such conduct, but the news media and celebrity press were skeptical. Cosby and his agents offered Constand money for school tuition when her mother, Gianna, called to confront him in January 2006. Constand’s complaint was referred to the DA office in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where the district attorney found the case to be too weak to prosecute, a controversial decision. So Constand sued Cosby, and thirteen other women claiming to be victims of the same kinds of attacks by the comic agreed to support the lawsuit. Cosby gave four days of deposition testimony and then negotiated a confidential settlement with Constand in 2006.
Then, in 2014, after comedian Hannibal Buress joked about Cosby being a rapist, Cosby’s PR response was a bit too aggressive, and dozens of new accusers came forward to tell their stories. Cosby’s lawyers essentially accused them all of lying, Constant included, which eventually prompted a a federal judge to grant an Associated Press motion to unseal parts of his deposition. Among other disturbing statements under oath, Cosby said he had frequently obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give women before having sex with them.
This renders Pulliam’s statement that “that isn’t the man that I know” as idiocy. So? “That isn’t the man that I know”…so the man on trial is a doppleganger? “That isn’t the man that I know”...so that deposition was a fake? “That isn’t the man that I know”…so he must have been possessed? What, Keishia? What does that statement mean? That he never molested you? Good to know. So what?
In the trial yesterday, District Attorney Kevin Steele was allowed to call just one other accuser as representative of the more than 50 women who have told strikingly similar stories. (Are some of them trying to cash in? It’s not unlikely. In sexual harassment and assault cases, however, multiple victims coming forward is typical, and for that many to be lying is unprecedented.) Kelly Johnson, in tears, testified that Cosby attacked her in a Hotel Bel-Air bungalow in Los Angeles after having her swallow a large white pill. She said she hesitated, and Bill pulled out the “Trust me. You know the Cos would never hurt you” card. She awoke a while later, she said, lying on the bed, partly undressed, with Cosby behind her. She said she had lotion on her hand and “he made me touch his penis….My dress was pulled up from the bottom, and it was pulled down from the top…My breasts were out. I felt naked.”
If Pulliam really cared about feminism, truth and justice like she claims to, she would do her part to keep Rudy and the Huxtables out of this trial. All they can do is confuse people, stir up emotions, and make it harder for the jury to cut through bias, denial, celebrity and disillusionment to come up with a fair verdict. Instead, Keishia Knight Pulliam enlisted as a human prop, putting Rudy Huxtable in the service of rapist.
(Aside: Even this story can’t be reported by some members of the biased news media without a gratuitous and unfair slap at the President of the United States.)