Cosby jury deadlocked despite overwhelming evidence — because why have justice now?
The Cosby mistrial has left the prosecution reeling. Public opinion is predictably all over the place.
There is a for and against air in the articles, and a sense of deja vu — all of which brings back the harsh reality of how hard it is to bring celebrities or anyone to trial with cases of sexual assault.
Looking back, it’s clear to see that the Cosby lawsuit of 2005 has been scrubbed from the minds of the public. No one wants to believe that Cliff Huxtable is capable of sexual assault. Yet it’s this kind of brushing things under the carpet that normalizes it.
So let’s stop giving a free pass to celebrities just because they’re celebrities.
Or rapists, since they’re not always scary dudes in back alleys.
Eric Deggans, TV Critic for NPR, said it best:
I think the verdict shows, once again, how difficult it is to convict a celebrity of serious criminal charges, especially in a case that boils down to taking one non-famous person's word over the celebrity's account.
The now 79-year-old Cosby was charged with three counts of sexual assault against Andrea Constand, now 44, in his Philadelphia residence in 2004.
Sixty women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault and drugging. During his trial, Cosby claimed he gave the women Benadryl and that the sex was consensual.
Apparently rendering someone incapable of responding and then sexually assaulting that person constitutes ... consent. But what would I know?
In his 2005 deposition, Cosby admitted to the use of quaaludes.
A Global News survey reports that while 30% of respondents said they’d “experienced sexual assault in their lifetimes,” only an estimated 18% of those reported the crime. On top of that, 23% of sexual assault charges from 2011-12 in Canada resulted in a guilty verdict. Why is this relevant?
Over the years, a number of celebrities have been accused of and tried for sexual assault. Asawin Suebsaeng of the Daily Beast wrote ‘It’s Not Just Cosby: Hollywood’s Long List of Male Scumbags’, back in 2014:
The rich and powerful shouldn’t be allowed to duck a tide of rape allegations, and that includes beloved, family-friendly household names.
Cough. #Ghomeshi. Cough.
Which couldn’t be put better — celebrities need to be held accountable for their crimes. We need to hold rapists accountable for their crimes. PERIOD.
With no justice to be had in such high profile cases, how do any survivors of sexual assault stand a chance?
It’s sad that despite being called out several times over the years (which was then compiled into a timeline by Vulture’s Matt Giles and Nate Jones), it took a male comedian to stir up the not-new or surprising testimonies and accusations and bring them back into the light.
Twenty-one year-old Bobby Dugan, one of the last of the jurors to openly discuss the trial, told Good Morning America that he was a fan, and didn’t think Cosby was guilty at the beginning.
"I have had, like, regret I guess, when we came to the final deadlock decision, and it has kind of been eating at my mind, like, this could have all been done with," Dugan told reporters.
Dugan also says it was Cosby who changed his opinion on the case.
“I think it was in the 2005 deposition, when they were asking him, 'Would you use the word consent?' he said, 'I wouldn't use that word.'"
Neither would we.
Cosby admitted several times during his own deposition that he hid the money he paid out to women who accused him of sexual assault.
“Would your wife know about that?”
“That’s family. My wife would not know it was because Andrea and I had had sex and that Andrea was now very, very upset and that she decided that she would like to go to school or whatever it is. We can get back on track.”
“How would you explain to your wife that you were giving this personally as opposed to using the foundation?”
“I would say to her that there is a person I would like to help.”
With an estimated five-dozen women accusing Cosby of sexual assault, it’s hard not to see the writing on the wall. Even University of Missouri-Columbia has revoked his honorary degree.
From its statement:
The evidence presented during the recent criminal trial indicated that (Cosby) engaged in behavior that is in direct conflict with the core values of the University of Missouri.
In the end, the mistrial leaves things open ended. The prosecution have already stated that they plan to retry Cosby while Cosby’s attorney, Brian McMonagle told CNN he would ‘battle’ for Cosby again if he asked.
One thing’s for sure: to echo Vox’s article, ‘I believe Bill Cosby’, when men openly admit — (read: “joke” about sexually assaulting and drugging women, for decades) — it's time we believe them.
Rebecca Costello is a twenty-one year old English Major interested in delving into the field of literature and screenwriting. She was previously both Editor and Nonfiction Editor for her college's annual literary magazine and is currently knee-deep in Saskatchewan history, working full-time in a historical museum for the summer. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.