The thing about Dylan Farrow's open letter accusing her father, Woody Allen, of sexual abuse is: There was not much really new about it. It was new that Dylan Farrow herself was signing her name to the accusations, but Vanity Fair had covered the case, in grim detail, more than two decades ago.
So the current crisis over how people are supposed to feel about Woody Allen is on some level odd. Woody Allen's status as an accused child molester has been a matter of public record since before Manhattan Murder Mystery came out. Anyone who didn't think about it before now had chosen not to think about it.
Not thinking about it is a popular and powerful choice. Which brings up another beloved American funnyman, Bill Cosby. Who doesn't love Bill Cosby? I grew up watching Fat Albert and eating Jell-O Pudding Pops, which is a cliché, but Bill Cosby is the creator of some of our most warming and affirming clichés. He is charming and iconic, one of the most culturally important and successful comedians ever, an elder statesman of the entertainment industry.
He's also someone who has been accused by multiple women of drugging them and sexually assaulting them. Here is one of his accusers, describing an incident:
Well, there were a number of people at the table, friends of his, and he said to me, yes, you do seem ill, you're slightly feverish, would you like to have some Contact? You know, the cold medicine. And I thought, why not, can't hurt. So he went into some sort of office area at the back of the restaurant and he produced two capsules in his hand. I thought nothing of it and I took the capsules. In about, I don't know, 20 to 30 minutes I felt great and then about 10 minutes after that I was almost literally face down on the table of this restaurant...
He said, "Oh my, you must be more ill then we believed. I totally lost motor control; I was almost unable to hold my head up. I was very, very, very stoned. He took me into my apartment and then very helpfully and nicely was prepared to take off my clothes and help me into bed and pet me, and that's how the actual assault began.
( 'Four women said publicly, in major media outlets, that Bill Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them...[but] nobody wanted to live in a world where Bill Cosby was a sexual predator.'Collapse )