Before the #MeToo movement began when it seemed like there were bombshells being dropped every other day about men in positions of power in the entertainment industry abusing their privileges to take advantage of women, there was a shocking revelation about once-beloved comedian, Bill Cosby.
The seemingly family-friendly entertainer was accused by dozens of women over the years of drugging and sexually assaulting them. Cosby did admit to cheating on his wife and giving the women he "partied with" quaaludes as a means of initiating sex.
However when he was brought to trial by Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee he mentored some 14 years ago who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulted her, Cosby's legal team insisted the encounter was consensual.
But two days of deliberations in the Montgomery County courthouse was all the jury needed to decide that the incident was not, and Cosby was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand: penetration with lack of consent, penetration upon administering an intoxicant, and penetration while unconscious. In layman's terms - the comedian was found guilty of date-rape.
After the verdict was reached, District Attorney for Montgomery County, Kevin R. Steele suggested that Cosby's $1 million bail shouldn't be an option, as he may be a flight risk because he owned a plane and could flee the country. To which Cosby replied, "He doesn't have a plane, you a**hole."
Cosby's defense team tried to paint Constand as a con artist, and even warned that the fervor behind the #MeToo movement would impact juror's views on Cosby. In fact, during jury selection, before being picked for the trial, potential members had to assure that accusations against other famous men in positions of power wouldn't taint their judgment of Cosby, who could now face prison time.
Each of the counts carries a maximum sentence of ten years, but they can be served concurrently.
Many people are counting the guilty verdict against Cosby as a progressive step in holding sexual assault offenders accountable, especially when it comes to the "wholesome male" stereotype, where attackers are given the benefit of the doubt. Remember the Brock Turner trial? The college swimmer who was caught raping a girl behind a dumpster? Some news publications posted his lap times and dialed down the language against him, focusing more on Turner "the prospective athlete" and not "Turner the Rapist."
Bill Cosby's GUILTY verdict is a huge win for every victim who was ignored, publicly smeared or silenced. ABUSE OF POWER + VICTIM SHAMING isn't going to be tolerated anymore. To all the women who came forward with allegations against "America's Dad" YOU ARE MY HEROES.— Lauren Sivan (@LaurenSivan) April 26, 2018
Bill Cosby has been found GUITLY of sexual assault.— Jennifer Michelle Greenberg (@JennMGreenberg) April 26, 2018
As bizarre as this story seems, most abusers camouflage themselves as good, likeable people. Unlike snakes they are not clearly marked. They take pride in their ability to con, and tricking people makes them feel powerful.
Of course, social media being what it is, people are roasting Cosby for the conviction.
Wow! For the first time in my life I had a better week than Bill Cosby and Kanye West.— Sean O'Connor (@seanoconnz) April 26, 2018
Some found it funny that the comedian who stayed away from "bad words" was caught cursing in a courtroom.
Others suggested that Cosby's conviction has more to do with his race than the fact that he's a powerful man.
Its interesting how people are trying to pretend this Bill Cosby verdict wasn't completely racial by mentioning "Harvey Weinstein is next". These people know good and well Weinstein won't be touched.....— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) April 26, 2018
Because he's white
Others pointed out that Cosby's case may be very similar to another old, (in)famous man in a position of power.
So, Bill Cosby is guilty on three counts of felony second-degree aggravated indecent assault. BUT, At least 15 women have come forward with accusations against Donald Trump and nothing has happened!— Jared Sawyer Jr. (@JaredSawyerJr) April 26, 2018
Now if only we could start holding our president to the same standard we’re holding Bill Cosby.— OhNoSheTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) April 26, 2018
There are several people who are warning to not use the "double standard" argument to apologize for Cosby's behavior, but more so to go after other attackers who've done the same.
FOR BILL COSBY APOLOGISTS: Stop using how the legal system deals with white men who commit sexual assault as a way to defend a Black man who has DONE the same.— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) April 26, 2018
SEXUAL ABUSE IS SEXUAL ABUSE.
BOTH SHOULD BE PENALIZED.
ONE ISN'T RIGHT JUST BECAUSE THE OTHER ISN'T DEALT WITH.
Cosby's legal team says it plans to appeal the decision, but for now, many are counting the verdict as a victory for all the women who accused him of sexual assault over the years.
"We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed, and not only on #MeToo, but in a court of law where they were under oath, where they testified truthfully, where they were attacked, where they were smeared," says Gloria Allred, who represented 33 Bill Cosby accusers pic.twitter.com/o0C8jfxSUu— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 26, 2018