Rudy Huxtable Lets Desperate Dad Use Her As A Stage Prop

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. Continue reading

Here’s What Was REALLY Wrong With Bill Cosby’s Sweater…

Cosby sweater

Washington Post fashion editor Robin Givhan set off a lively controversy by alleging that the “grandpa” sweater Bill Cosby wore to court was a calculated and manipulative ploy to gain public sympathy. “Bill Cosby’s perp walk was striking for its overwhelming lack of grace and power. It was an exploitation of our assumptions of fragile old age,” she wrote.  “It was the explicit manipulation of a studiously unattractive sweater.”

Was it? Lawyers often micro-manage a clients’ appearance in court; when it amounts to deception, I have written that it is unethical. Cosby’s attire seems hardly deceptive; after all, he is famous for his sweaters. There is even a pop song called Cosby’s Sweater. Ann Althouse agrees with Givhan that it was “a con,” but suggests that it’s an ethical con because “everybody does it.”

I don’t understand either Givhan’s logic or Althouse’s, and if Cosby’s lawyers talked him into this costume, they did him no favors. Cosby’s best armor against the verdict of public opinion is that Cliff Huxtable would never do the horrible things he’s being accused of.  There is no better, more benign, more appealing image of Bill Cosby than “TV Bill Cosby” as we fondly remember him. In court, he looked like a dirty old man, which is what he apparently is. Cliff Huxtable wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a sweater like that to court. (Bill would have also been well-advised to shave.) Continue reading

Cognitive Dissonance Chronicles: Now “The Cosby Show” Is Suddenly Racist And Part Of A Conservative Plot

THE COSBY SHOW -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (front row l-r) Keshia Knight Pulliam as Rudy Huxtable, Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff 'Cliff' Huxtable, Tempestt Bledsoe as Vanessa Huxtable (back row l-r) Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable Kendall, Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Theodore 'Theo' Huxtable, Phylicia Rashad as Clair Hanks Huxtable, Sabrina Le Beauf as Sondra Huxtable Tibideaux  (Photo by Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

When “The Cosby Show” was on the air on CBS from 1984 to 1992, it was unanimously praised—except by a few grumps and crackpots, for there are always grumps and crackpots—for being an unequivocally positive influence on racial understanding and the culture. Finally African American characters were on television every week who were not inner city criminals, hucksters, drug dealers or pimps. Finally, after dozens of white “Father Knows Best” style sitcoms, there was a comedy about black professionals heading a family with kids that used good grammar, didn’t skip school and were never in trouble with the law. “The Cosby Show” won awards and plaudits from educators and civil rights groups. It provided a positive model for an attainable future for black children, and an image of black Americans that combated racism by making it seem as illogical as it is. These were good people, good parents, good citizens, with the same values, hopes and dreams as everyone else.

The insidious power of cognitive dissonance is that it allows strong feelings about anyone or anything to unfairly and irrationally carry over to anything or anyone else that the object of those feelings touches. Today, as the fact that the creative force leading “The Cosby Show” had a hypocritical and despicable secret life as a sexual predator becomes undeniable, this process is triggering dangerous and ugly shifts in attitudes and advocacy. A confluence of events has resulted in Bill Cosby being teamed with the Confederate flag (remarkably, it murdered nine African American church members in Charleston! ) to trigger a troubling wave of attempted cultural and historical purges—and where it stops, nobody knows. Some progressives want to wipe all memory of Bill Cosby’s achievements from the nation’s consciousness, just as they want to  tear down every statue of a Confederate military hero and wipe the name of Robert E. Lee off hundreds of schools, streets and parks.

[Aside: Stations are now pulling The Cosby Show, once one of the most syndicated and ubiquitous of all sitcoms, from their schedules. This is just a reasonable business decision. The stations reasonably assume that the show will not be as entertaining or popular once it is impossible to watch Bill Cosby as Dr. Cliff without thinking about Dr. Cliff secretly drugging and raping his female patients. That’s not cognitive dissonance. That’s just reality. Actor Gig Young made some of the best romantic comedies of the Sixties with Doris Day and others. He was a skilled comic actor, but he murdered his wife and killed himself in a drunken rage, and it’s hard to laugh at Gig any more. Those movies are virtually never broadcast, and it is hard to find them on DVD. Among Bill’s victims are the member so of his cast, including the kids he professed to love like a father, who will lose millions in residuals because he couldn’t control his demons.]

A time machine is helpful in these matters, so Salon, the left-wing blog that is so predictable it sometimes catches me by surprise, since it is hard to believe that any publication will willfully rush into self parody, has suddenly decided that “The Cosby Show” was “based on a distorted and inaccurate presentation of the black community, one that has enabled a pernicious type of right-wing “colorblind” racism to flourish.”

Ah. Cosby is bad, so everything he did before we found out that he was bad was bad too. We weren’t just duped about him. We were duped about the values he stood for!

The author of the article is Chauncey De Vega, an African American journalist who doesn’t even try to hide one of his motives: he’s still steamed that Cosby dared to urge African American families to be responsible, and pointed out that wearing one’s pants like they do in prison wasn’t the way to get respect from employers and potential associates not recently out of prison.  Mostly, however, he is determined to re-cast “The Cosby Show” as complicit in embedding racism in U.S. society. He writes in part: Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Phylicia Rashad

COSBY-AND-RASHAD

Phylicia Rashad, the African American actress best known for playing “Claire Huxtable,” Bill Cosby’s wife on his legendary sitcom, was resolute about not be dragged into the crisis facing her on-screen hubby, as woman after women has come out with allegations that she was raped, sexually assaulted or drugged by funny, ol’ Bill. She should have stayed that way. Unfortunately, she allowed a Hollywood celebrity reporter to pull some quotes out of her, and now she has a crisis of her own. Now we know she values loyalty, group identification, show business protocol and her own financial interests over decency, fairness, honesty, justice, compassion, respect for women, and truth.

Or, I suppose, she might be an idiot.

Rashad’s take on Cosby’s problems was also odd, as it focused very little on the man being accused of such heinous acts. She didn’t say, or at least such remarks weren’t reported, that he was a wonderful human being, or that she could not imagine the man she worked so closely with all these years doing what so many alleged victims claim. She said that she “loves” him. In show business, this is like the host of a TV talk show saying a guest is a close personal friend: it is routine, and means nothing.  Rashad’s defense of Cosby consisted of dismissing his victims’ stories as baseless, and this:

“What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture….Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV. And it’s worked. All his contracts have been cancelled…This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family. And now you’re seeing it being destroyed. Why?”

Why. Huh. That’s a head scratcher isn’t it? Yes, why would the entertainment value of family situation comedy about a wise, loving father , the wife whom he adores and his brood of adorable, normal, kids, including three, and ultimately four, teenage girls be diminished in the least by overwhelming evidence that the actor playing said father is a sick, ruthless, sexual predator and the King of Hypocrites? Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Unethical Website of the Month: The Florida Family Association”

Proam comments on boycotts, in today’s Comment of the Day regarding the post, Unethical Website of the Month: The Florida Family Association:

“Unless I am mistaken, The American Family Association (AFA) has a long-running and ongoing boycott call against the other large hardware chain, Home Depot, stemming from the corporation’s continued kindness toward persons whose sexual practices are objectionable to AFA. To my knowledge, Home Depot has not caved. I don’t know whether the AFA-led boycott has had any effect on Home Depot’s business. I wonder if Lowe’s examined Home Depot’s situation prior to its decision – if it’s even relevant.

“Over time, I have become a much more selective and reluctant boycott-joiner. I would like to think that any boycott I might join would be so justified, so humanitarian, so economically and morally and ethically correct, that even the collateral damages and unintended consequences would be tolerably recoverable, or “for the best in the long run” – but I know I’m dreaming. A boycott just seems more and more to me like a “nuclear option” a la Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One day I may feel I have no other option, but then, I will know ahead of time that abiding by it (a boycott) won’t soothe me any more than having never taken part in it, even if I ‘win’.”

Unethical Website of the Month: The Florida Family Association

"Hey, wait---where are the terrorists?"

Organized bigotry is un-American, and organized bigotry under the banner of American values is misrepresentation. That’s what can be found on the Florida Family Association website here, as it simultaneously engages in several of Ethics Alarms’ most deplored conduct: bias, dishonestly accusing others of bias, bullying, boycotting, and worst of all having success at bullying and boycotting. I suppose I should add to that list making its readers stupid, because its arguments will do that too.

The Florida Family Association is offended by The Learning Channel’s latest reality show, “All-American Muslim,” which shows American citizens who happen to be Muslims pretty much living, acting and sounding like you and me, except when they are practicing their religion. I think it is, unlike most TLC series, an excellent idea. American attitudes toward  Muslims since September 11, 2001 are substantially based on ignorance, the kissing cousin of bigotry and the mother of fear. Learning more about American Muslims can only be beneficial to all, but The Florida Family Association views the program as a plot:

“The Learning Channel’s new show ‘All-American Muslim’ is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.  The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.” Continue reading