Would you tweet him an #RIP? Or would you still slander his name after hearing the allegations made against him?
Ever since one of my favorite comedians, Hannibal Burress shed light on the assumption that Bill Cosby raped women, that thought has not been able to leave our awareness as well as his. This is not a piece attempting to defend Cosby, but rather a piece on how the media shapes our beliefs and obscures our perception of reality.
This case reminds me of the allegations made about Michael Jackson as well. The claim that he sexually assaulted children at his Neverland Ranch was noted all over the world and essentially assassinated his character. Then some years after was, arguably, assassinated for real. Same thing happened with Joe Paterno after the Sandusky scandal (even though he was not assassinated) I’m sure the stress and disappointment of losing ALL of the games he earned himself along with his past players, may have been enough to actually kill him.
People do bad things, people slip up and make mistakes. Do the things people do make them bad people? And if you think it does, why exactly does it matter? Especially for people in the public eye: we hear something in the news about something bad that somebody did and all of a sudden that person is made into a demon, as if we haven’t done bad things before.
It’s always different for celebrities. Say if Zac Efron was caught by paparazzi wearing a chinchilla fur coat, PETA would be quick to make a statement about it. The majority of the public know of these people and so it is easy to form opinions about them, good or bad. What we never do is realize that deep down, that these people we demonize and sometimes idolize, we actually don’t know at all.
Because we actually don’t know these people, we are quick to make claims about them as ridiculous as they may sound. Like singer Ciara, back when she first became famous people thought that she had a penis. And even now I’ve heard a rumor about Samuel L. Jackson being gay. But what if these people were your relatives or close friends? You probably wouldn’t believe it let alone let others talk about them like that.
Is the media this powerful in making such trivial things into a huge deal for the audience? I would say yes without hesitation.
The media is exactly how the #blacklivesmatter campaign emerged. We heard about Mike Brown through the media, we heard about Sandra Bland through the media, we heard about Tamir Rice through the media,even Trayvon Martin and the list goes on. The point is, we would not know about any of this if mass media didn’t broadcast it, and not to mention the officers that killed these young black men were NOT convicted for what they did with evidence present. Bill Cosby on the other hand, arrested, for something he may have done 10-20+ years ago with no evidence except that he had purchased quaaludes. Something’s not adding up here.
We’re all hypocrites, and we put way too much trust into the media. And so I pose this hypothetical question: What if Mike Brown had raped an under-aged girl but we didn’t find out about it until 2017? Will his character be diminished? Would the killing be somehow justified with this new information?
It also goes to show how much attention we put on negative things about people, especially celebrities. Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, but he touched little boys. John Lennon was an advocate for world peace, but he beat his wife. And now, Bill Cosby, the father figure of Black America, is a rapist. Though that title has majorly been revoked, It still doesn’t take away from the great things he has done in his time on Earth.
Bill Cosby may have done a bad thing, and yet we still don’t have proof, and yet majority of America hates him because of news headlines. All I’m saying is that when Bill Cosby finally rests, I don’t want to see people who demolished his image mourning his death. I also don’t want to see people expressing their happiness about his death, for that is just inhumane.
In no way do I support sexual assault and drugging women, but I don’t think it is fair for a man who has done such great things in the community and for black television to be killed right before he’s actually killed. Bill Cosby was a role-model of mine and I always thought he was hilarious and brought great energy whenever I saw him on TV, but behind the scenes, I really don’t know Bill Cosby, and whatever he does is none of my business.
I don’t follow perceived consensus purely because we don’t know everything except for what we’ve been told. Sort of like the consensus that Kanye West is a narcissistic asshole. I don’t believe he is, though it may be tough to defend against that case, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s made some incredible music in his career and I will continue to listen to it no matter how people feel about him.
Moral of the story is, DO NOT LET MEDIA SHAPE YOUR PERCEPTION. IT’S NOT REAL.