With more than 60 women accusing him, the comedian blamed racism for his predicament
Veteran comedian and actor Bill Cosby has said he will not testify in his forthcoming sexual assault trial in Pennsylvania, claiming that racism is to blame for the scandal that has seen his reputation implode.
At least 60 women have come forward in recent years to accuse Cosby of sexual assault, but statutes of limitation, the comic will only face charges relating to one woman; former Temple University employee Andrea Constand has accused him of drugging her and molesting her.
Constand says that she visited Cosby’s home in 2004 as a 31-year-old with the intent of discussing her career. She says she befriended Cosby through Temple University in Philadelphia, where Cosby served as a trustee.
Cosby stands accused of giving Constand three blue pills and then touching her inappropriately. Two years later, the comedian reached a settlement with Constand for an undisclosed sum of money.
Criminal charges were brought against him last year when a newly elected county prosecutor promised to bring a case against him after months of women coming forward with fresh allegations dating back decades.
Cosby has refuted any claims of wrongdoing, arguing that all of his sexual encounters were consensual.
Speaking on a US radio show on Sirius-XM, the actor made his first public comments in two years. During a 30-minute conversation, the 79-year-old painted a picture of himself as a victim of the media, accusing the women involved in the case of “piling on.”
Cosby’s comments came as the first in a series of curated media appearances ahead of jury selection next Monday in his trial.
Angela Agrusa, Cosby’s lawyer, recently told The Hollywood Reporter that the defence is strategising on ways to change “the optics” of his presumed guilt. Earlier this week, two of Cosby’s daughter – Ensa and Erinn – released statements to nationally syndicated radio programme The Breakfast Club, speaking out for their father and family’s reputation.
“I believe that racism has played a big role in all aspects of this scandal,” Ensa Cosby said. “My father is being punished by a society that still believes black men rape white women, but passes off as ‘boys will be boys’ when white men are accused.”
The cover of New York Magazine featuring an interview with some of the women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct
When asked to comment on his daughter’s assertion, Cosby told radio host Michael Smerconish, “Could be... I truly believe that some of it may very well be that.” When pressed on how that claim stood up against the fact that some of his accusers are black, Cosby remained silent.
Cosby, the first black American to headline a primetime and a multiple Emmy, Grammy and Golden Globe-winner, has vowed to return to comedy after his trial ends.
“I still feel that I have an awful lot to offer in terms of my writing, in terms of my performance,” he said.
His trial is set to begin on June 5th.