Views / Opinion

Attempting to restore Bill Cosby's legacy is a hopeless task: Westwood

Cosby cemented a new image as a sexual predator more than ten years ago.

Cosby flanked by his PR team Andrew Wyatt (left) and Ebonee Benson (right).

Getty Images

Cosby flanked by his PR team Andrew Wyatt (left) and Ebonee Benson (right).

Bill Cosby is a man with an unfixable problem.

What he desires is painfully obvious, articulated time and again by his made-for-TV-movie calibre PR crew: He wants his legacy back.

Cosby’s publicist Andrew Wyatt claimed last week with a Trumpian flair for wishful thinking, “It’s back. He has been restored.”

In fact, restoration for the once-adored comedian is nowhere in sight. It’s not even in peripheral view. You couldn’t find an astrologist willing to predict it — or a Ouija board.

It’s not just because Cosby’s recent sexual assault trial ended with a hung jury, and he could face a new trial as early as the fall. And it’s not just because his proposed town hall tour sparked outrage over the belief Cosby would be offering his insights on sexual assault laws.

Cosby cemented a new image as a sexual predator more than ten years ago when he admitted in a deposition to buying drugs to give to women before sex, which he declined to describe as consensual. That deposition combined with Andrea Constand’s testimony that he sexually assaulted her after giving her pills, which Cosby maintains was consensual, plus the stories collected over the years of some 60 other women who allege Cosby drugged and molested them: This is Cosby’s new legacy.

Less Mr. Jello. More Mr. Quaalude.

So it was surreal when, after Cosby’s mistrial, his spokespeople sat down for a softball interview on an Alabama news show last week and proposed that Cosby had something important to teach other men.

“This is bigger than Bill Cosby,” Wyatt told the interviewer. Young people, especially young athletes, he said, “need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things that they shouldn't be doing.” Then he laughed: “And it also affects married men.”

Fellow spokeswoman Ebonee Benson chimed in to say sexual assault laws are changing, including extended statute of limitations and that nowadays “anything at this point can be considered sexual assault — it’s very, it’s a good thing to be educated about the laws.”

Well here’s a lesson: Partying doesn’t constitute rape. Rape does.

That town hall plan lasted a few days before Benson was forced to head back to the media claiming she’d been misunderstood. The tour was about “education” not sexual assault and — most importantly — “it was about restoration of legacy.” As if that much wasn’t plain. And hopeless.

Ironically, it’s the beating of Cosby’s legacy to a pulp — the loss of income, comedy tours, and respect — that may have spared him a guilty verdict.

“Whatever the man did, he's already paid a price and suffered,” one juror told news outlets.

Sympathy for the suffering of a man accused of rape. The patriarchy offers some pretty incredible get-out-of-jail free cards.

That sexually-assault-women-and-face-zero-consequences card, though? We’re beating that one to a pulp.

More on