GUILTY AS CHARGED

This is a reposting I did when Cosby’s hidden secrets burst into public knowledge three years ago. After the verdict of guilty as charged I thought I should bring it back if only to remind myself of how wrong I had been all those years I enjoyed working Cosby.The sad part is why, if these criminal acts were known for decades, why wasn’t Cosby stopped years ago?

Does money, power and celebrity status entitle a person to be above the law?

OH YES, MR. BILL

n-BILL-COSBY-STATUE-large300COSBY STATUE REMOVED FROM DISNEY WORLD

When I thought about starting this blog, I knew I would have to include some anecdotes about working with Bill Cosby, having worked him so many times over the years. I pieced three stories together, one about the first time I worked Cosby, another quite a few years later, and one that slammed the door on me ever communicating with him except what was needed in working his show. But just about the time I was going to post the finished product, Cosby’s protective wall of unique celebrity status and of course his money, began to spring a leak.

The rumor that he had been accused of doping and then raping women that had been around for years, suddenly erupted when a young black comedian, Hannibal Buress, who had a routine about Cosby always putting down young Blacks, ended it one show by screaming out, ‘you rape women’! The accusation went viral. Women came forward in public with stories about how they had been doped and raped by Cosby as far back as 1965, a year before my first story of that post occurred.

I revised my blog post, dropped the last anecdote, and replaced it with information that was coming out about the accusations. That deleted story had taken on a new meaning for me.

Cosby had changed over the years, especially after the senseless murder of his son, Ennis. The fun-loving guy backstage had become a somber man who spent as much time as possible in his dressing room. Respecting his grief, we no longer expected him to joke around with us as before.

It was between the two shows Cosby was performing at Northrop. A young woman came into the stagehands’ room and asked for me. She had Children’s’ Cancer Fund tee shirt and asked if I would take it to Cosby and have him autograph it so it could be auctioned off at the next benefit. She said it had all been set up and Cosby was expecting it.

            Cosby was very good about supporting  good causes. I suggested that she come with me and I would point out his dressing room, and she could go in and ask him herself.

            She jumped back and said, ‘No! I was warned not to go into Mr. Cosby’s dressing room.’ She extended the shirt and marker to me and said, ‘They said you would do. Won’t you?’

            ‘Sure,’ I laughed and took the shirt across stage. At the time I thought that the word ‘warned’ she used seemed a bit hard. Instead of just saying I was told not to, she said she was warned. At the time, I figured somebody was afraid she might commit some kind of gaffe meeting a big time celebrity like Cosby.

            I knocked and Crosby growled, ‘Come in.’

            He was sprawled out on the couch watching a March Madness basketball game on TV. He turned his head, saw who it was, and turned back to the game.

            I spread the shirt out on the table and laid the magic marker beside it. I told Cosby what it was for and he said he knew all about it. I didn’t really think he would sign it right at that moment, but he stood up and went to the table.

            ‘They told me some woman would bring the shirt in to me,’ he said as he signed his name. ‘What, she scared of me? Thinks if I get her in my dressing room, I’ll jump her bones.’

            ‘Oh, no,’ I answered, ‘I think… I was going to say she was just shy, but Cosby threw the shirt at me.

            ‘I don’t care what you think!’ He turned and went back to the couch. ‘Just get out! I want to watch the basketball game.’

            ‘Well, excuuuuuse me,’ I said as left the room, trying to slam the door, but it was rigged to close slowly. And even though I worked him several times after, that was the last time I ever talked to Cosby except when I really had to.

I had attributed his rudeness up to the fact things had to be getting to him. He changed over the years and for good reasons. His son’s death, his lack of a TV show, never really had movie career, his audience was getting old and his preaching about what the young people were doing wrong was not gaining him any new fans, his books were no longer best sellers, and comedy album were things of the past. He was growing old and was completing a very full week of work.

He had already done a benefit, which I worked, at the Convention Center, in midweek. He had done two shows the night before at Mystic Lake Casino, and now two shows at Northrop. He had to be tired.

Over the last few years he worked a lot of benefits, good pay, short hours, probably the hottest attraction in shadow-show business. And he knew how to play it. When he got the gig to do a benefit or an industrial expo, he contacted promoters in the town where he was to play and try to fill out with other shows in other venues. He was an easy show to sell tickets for, and the shows sold out with very little lead time and advertising.

And while I was giving him the benefit of the doubt, I was unaware of his secret reputation as a rapist. But Cosby wasn’t; and when I said the woman refused to go into his dressing room, it must have hit home. At the time I thought he was just referring to the old racist view that blacks all wanted to rape white women.

But as the rumors and accusation hit the public press, I thought back on Cosby’s anger and his words about her afraid he would ‘jump her bones’. And I remembered her using the words ‘warned not to go into his dressing room’. Who warned her, I have no idea, but somebody, maybe the promoter, might have known about the rumors and wanted to insure nothing would happen on his watch.

And this incident also happened around the time of a lawsuit against him on a dope/rape charge. He paid the woman off and it didn’t generate much negative publicity. Another case of a woman trying squeeze money out of a celebrity. After all this was Bill Cosby, not some meth-head playboy.

The first post I wrote about Bill Cosby was titled OH NO, MR. BILL!!! , giving him the slim benefit of the doubt.  Now, we just found out that back in 2005, Cosby admitted in a deposition he bought drugs to use to rape women. The deposition was sealed when there was a monetary payoff made and the woman who brought suit against him was satisfied. A recent lawsuit forced that deposition to become public, and as soon as all the women named as victims who were going to testify in that suit, agree to it the entire deposition will be made public. Just the part that has been revealed already has proven that Cosby, by his own sworn words, to be a liar, a hypocrite, and someone who actually purchased drugs with the intent of using them to rape a woman..

And when all this negative publicity hit, Cosby acted like a complete fool. Many of his upcoming gigs were cancelled, but a few promoters stuck with him, and during these shows Cosby actually tried to joke about the ‘lies’ people were telling about him. He zeroed in on one accuser calling her a liar and now is being sued by her for defamation of character. This conduct caused other women to come forth and volunteer to tell their experiences with dope and rape, and Bill Cosby.

The New Jersey Supreme Court will decide if criminal charges should be brought against him for rape because there is no statute of limitations for rape in New Jersey, where one of the accusers said he raped her.

Even if he skates on criminal charges,  the rest of his life will be spent in court fighting lawsuits. This pressure would be hell for anyone, let alone somebody in his late 70’s. And I can’t imagine him getting much support and sympathy from his wife of 50 years as the accusations and lawsuits pile down on him.

While this type of conduct that of a rich celebrity resorting to drugs and raping a multitude of women, surprises the majority of us, it recently was proven that it happens as in the case of Darren Sharper. Sharper, rich, handsome, intelligent, and articulate, a former NFL star and a current TV commentator, pleaded guilty in four different states to drugging women and then raping them. He is currently serving time for his actions.

Some women raped by Sharper admitted they would have been afraid to even mention it if it hadn’t been for the women coming foreword in the Cosby affair. And, I imagine the women in the Cosby affairs stand a better chance of being believed because of the confession of Sharper that proves these things do happen, even if the celebrity in question is ‘America’s favorite father’.

Cosby is 80. If he actually serves any time it will be a ‘life sentence’ at his age. And after this verdict many of the other accusers are in the wings waiting. 

Cosby was a real pioneer in breaking the barriers for Blacks in television. Now he is a ground breaker in criminal justice for the rich and famous sexual creeps.

OH YES, MR. BILL

n-BILL-COSBY-STATUE-large300COSBY STATUE REMOVED FROM DISNEY WORLD

When I thought about starting this blog, I knew I would have to include some anecdotes about working with Bill Cosby, having worked him so many times over the years. I pieced three stories together, one about the first time I worked Cosby, another quite a few years later, and one that slammed the door on me ever communicating with him except what was needed in working his show. But just about the time I was going to post the finished product, Cosby’s protective wall of unique celebrity status and of course his money, began to spring a leak.

The rumor that he had been accused of doping and then raping women that had been around for years, suddenly erupted when a young black comedian, Hannibal Buress, who had a routine about Cosby always putting down young Blacks, ended it one show by screaming out, ‘you rape women’! The accusation went viral. Women came forward in public with stories about how they had been doped and raped by Cosby as far back as 1965, a year before my first story of that post occurred.

I revised my blog post, dropped the last anecdote, and replaced it with information that was coming out about the accusations. That deleted story had taken on a new meaning for me.

Cosby had changed over the years, especially after the senseless murder of his son, Ennis. The fun-loving guy backstage had become a somber man who spent as much time as possible in his dressing room. Respecting his grief, we no longer expected him to joke around with us as before.

It was between the two shows Cosby was performing at Northrop. A young woman came into the stagehands’ room and asked for me. She had Children’s’ Cancer Fund tee shirt and asked if I would take it to Cosby and have him autograph it so it could be auctioned off at the next benefit. She said it had all been set up and Cosby was expecting it.

            Cosby was very good about supporting  good causes. I suggested that she come with me and I would point out his dressing room, and she could go in and ask him herself.

            She jumped back and said, ‘No! I was warned not to go into Mr. Cosby’s dressing room.’ She extended the shirt and marker to me and said, ‘They said you would do. Won’t you?’

            ‘Sure,’ I laughed and took the shirt across stage. At the time I thought that the word ‘warned’ she used seemed a bit hard. Instead of just saying I was told not to, she said she was warned. At the time, I figured somebody was afraid she might commit some kind of gaffe meeting a big time celebrity like Cosby.

            I knocked and Crosby growled, ‘Come in.’

            He was sprawled out on the couch watching a March Madness basketball game on TV. He turned his head, saw who it was, and turned back to the game.

            I spread the shirt out on the table and laid the magic marker beside it. I told Cosby what it was for and he said he knew all about it. I didn’t really think he would sign it right at that moment, but he stood up and went to the table.

            ‘They told me some woman would bring the shirt in to me,’ he said as he signed his name. ‘What, she scared of me? Thinks if I get her in my dressing room, I’ll jump her bones.’

            ‘Oh, no,’ I answered, ‘I think… I was going to say she was just shy, but Cosby threw the shirt at me.

            ‘I don’t care what you think!’ He turned and went back to the couch. ‘Just get out! I want to watch the basketball game.’

            ‘Well, excuuuuuse me,’ I said as left the room, trying to slam the door, but it was rigged to close slowly. And even though I worked him several times after, that was the last time I ever talked to Cosby except when I really had to.

I had attributed his rudeness up to the fact things had to be getting to him. He changed over the years and for good reasons. His son’s death, his lack of a TV show, never really had movie career, his audience was getting old and his preaching about what the young people were doing wrong was not gaining him any new fans, his books were no longer best sellers, and comedy album were things of the past. He was growing old and was completing a very full week of work.

He had already done a benefit, which I worked, at the Convention Center, in midweek. He had done two shows the night before at Mystic Lake Casino, and now two shows at Northrop. He had to be tired.

Over the last few years he worked a lot of benefits, good pay, short hours, probably the hottest attraction in shadow-show business. And he knew how to play it. When he got the gig to do a benefit or an industrial expo, he contacted promoters in the town where he was to play and try to fill out with other shows in other venues. He was an easy show to sell tickets for, and the shows sold out with very little lead time and advertising.

And while I was giving him the benefit of the doubt, I was unaware of his secret reputation as a rapist. But Cosby wasn’t; and when I said the woman refused to go into his dressing room, it must have hit home. At the time I thought he was just referring to the old racist view that blacks all wanted to rape white women.

But as the rumors and accusation hit the public press, I thought back on Cosby’s anger and his words about her afraid he would ‘jump her bones’. And I remembered her using the words ‘warned not to go into his dressing room’. Who warned her, I have no idea, but somebody, maybe the promoter, might have known about the rumors and wanted to insure nothing would happen on his watch.

And this incident also happened around the time of a lawsuit against him on a dope/rape charge. He paid the woman off and it didn’t generate much negative publicity. Another case of a woman trying squeeze money out of a celebrity. After all this was Bill Cosby, not some meth-head playboy.

The first post I wrote about Bill Cosby was titled OH NO, MR. BILL!!! , giving him the slim benefit of the doubt.  Now, we just found out that back in 2005, Cosby admitted in a deposition he bought drugs to use to rape women. The deposition was sealed when there was a monetary payoff made and the woman who brought suit against him was satisfied. A recent lawsuit forced that deposition to become public, and as soon as all the women named as victims who were going to testify in that suit, agree to it the entire deposition will be made public. Just the part that has been revealed already has proven that Cosby, by his own sworn words, to be a liar, a hypocrite, and someone who actually purchased drugs with the intent of using them to rape a woman..

And when all this negative publicity hit, Cosby acted like a complete fool. Many of his upcoming gigs were cancelled, but a few promoters stuck with him, and during these shows Cosby actually tried to joke about the ‘lies’ people were telling about him. He zeroed in on one accuser calling her a liar and now is being sued by her for defamation of character. This conduct caused other women to come forth and volunteer to tell their experiences with dope and rape, and Bill Cosby.

The New Jersey Supreme Court will decide if criminal charges should be brought against him for rape because there is no statute of limitations for rape in New Jersey, where one of the accusers said he raped her.

Even if he skates on criminal charges,  the rest of his life will be spent in court fighting lawsuits. This pressure would be hell for anyone, let alone somebody in his late 70’s. And I can’t imagine him getting much support and sympathy from his wife of 50 years as the accusations and lawsuits pile down on him.

While this type of conduct that of a rich celebrity resorting to drugs and raping a multitude of women, surprises the majority of us, it recently was proven that it happens as in the case of Darren Sharper. Sharper, rich, handsome, intelligent, and articulate, a former NFL star and a current TV commentator, pleaded guilty in four different states to drugging women and then raping them. He is currently serving time for his actions.

Some women raped by Sharper admitted they would have been afraid to even mention it if it hadn’t been for the women coming foreword in the Cosby affair. And, I imagine the women in the Cosby affairs stand a better chance of being believed because of the confession of Sharper that proves these things do happen, even if the celebrity in question is ‘America’s favorite father’.

And that’s a wrap.

OH, NO, MR. BILL!!!

bill-cosby-quotes-hd-wallpaper-4

Bill Cosby was just breaking out big when I began working as a stage hand. When I retired 45 years later, Cosby was still big, still working a multitude of comedy performances in the US and Canada. Over those 45 years, I easily worked over 100 of Cosby’s comedy performances, and enjoyed every one of them. But now…

The first time I worked Cosby was at Northrop Auditorium at the U of Minnesota. Cosby was hot. His comedy albums were best sellers, and his TV show, I SPY, that he co-starred in with Robert Culp was high in the ratings, as well ground breaking. First time a black actor starred in a dramatic series. First black to win an Emmy.

Working that show taught me two things about Bill Cosby: He was fun to work with. (Years later he changed.) And he was no saint. (Rumors have it, he never changed that aspect of his character.)

One of my student crew members had purchased a large poster of a very serious Culp and a smiling Cosby, standing back to back and holding guns. First chance he got, he asked Cosby to autograph it. Cosby did. But he signed it ‘Bobby Culp’. Like I said, he was fun to work with in those days.

He also asked if there was a doctor that could see him during intermission. Lew, the promoter, found a doctor who gave Cosby a quick once-over. Lew then asked me to send one of the student crew down to the drug store to get a prescription.

According to Lew, the doctor said that Cosby wasn’t wrong when he asked for a doctor. He had a bad case of the drips and needed penicillin. The doctor said Cosby wanted it to be cleared up by the time the tour ended in two weeks, and he had to go home and face his wife. The doctor told him no way would he be healed by then. He suggested that Cosby better think of a believable way to blame on a contaminated toilet seat. Like I said, he was no saint, but a lot of fun to work.

Several years later I was working one of the follow spots for a Cosby performances that was booked by Jerry the Jerk. The Jerk had an uncanny talent of making people hate him at first glance – that way it saved time. And he was always conniving to get the most out of the stagehands for the least amount of money. Two facts not lost on Cosby.

Cosby usually comes in an hour before showtime. Goes on stage. Sits in the easy chair and sees to it that the end table has an ashtray for his cigar. Tests the mike and five minutes later he’s back in his dressing room. Jerry, however, demanded Cosby do his checking at 11 a.m. so if anything wasn’t right with the lights, sound,or camera that projected his face on a picture sheet above his head, it could be done in the 4 hour minimum for the Set Up and not run into a 5th hour.

Instead of telling Jerry no, Cosby came in on time; and then he made sure he didn’t check things out until we had broken the 5th hour. The Jerk was angry and told Cosby so. Cosby told us to take an hour for lunch and come back for a rehearsal. The Jerk was real angry; but there was nothing he could do because the contract said if Cosby wanted to rehearse he would rehearse.

The rehearsal started from the top, house to black low stage lights on, Cosby walked out, the follow spots picked him up, stayed on him when he sat down and went into his routine. He told one of his funny stories in about 5 minutes, then stood up and told us the rehearsal was over. Jerry the Jerk hit the roof. Paid all that money and the rehearsal  lasted less than ten minutes.

He should have kept  his mouth shut. Cos said he was going to think things over and have another rehearsal in an hour. Jerry was fuming and mentioned that could result in a meal penalty if we didn’t get out for supper. Cosby told Jerry to make a list of what each hand wanted for supper and have it delivered. Naturally the meal was on Jerry.

‘You know,’ Cosby told us when we were all in the Green Room eating supper, ‘I got a doctorate in education; but there’s one thing I knew long before I got it, some people never know when to keep their mouths shut.’

Cosby grew up listening to the great comedians on the radio, like Jack Benny, Bob Hope, George and Gracie, and he patterned his routines, be they live, or on TV,  after them, relying on family comedy, without any profanity. And it bothered him to see the young comedians building their success on sex and profanity.

The most popular of these young comedians was Eddie Murphy. Cosby was outspoken in his condemnation of the profanity of Murphy’s routine. He said Murphy had too much natural comedic talent to have to resort to cheap laughs by using profanity. Murphy didn’t like Cosby’s advice or Cosby’s type of comedy.

I worked Eddie Murphy during the heat of this feud. A full house at the Met Ice Arena. Murphy worked an hour and a half, no intermission. If he had deleted just the word MFer out of his routine, he would have cut a good fifteen minutes out of the show. He also spent at least fifteen minutes throughout the show condemning Cosby, or as he called him, that senile old MFer.

The audience loved it. Murphy would use his favorite word, MFer, and then scream asking the audience if they were offended. Naturally the audience, thrilled to have a part in the show, would stomp their feet and clap their hands and yell back, ‘NO, you MFer’. This sophomoric display was repeated all the way through the performance.

To paraphrase Erasmus: In the Land of the Morons, the moron holding the mike is king. And as far as I am concerned, more and more morons are purchasing tickets to listen to more and more morons holding mikes.In this case, Cosby was right, even though his words only resulted in him losing the youth as fans.

In 1997, Cosby’s life took a terrible turn for the worse. His oldest son, Ennis, was murdered in, as the killer’s confession called it, ‘a robbery turned bad’. From then on, Cosby became withdrawn. He never kidded with the hands backstage. Spent his free time in his dressing room. But once he got onstage in front of the audience, he reverted back to the old Bill.

In his personal life, he became quite outspoken about the Black community; especially how he perceived the indifference to the pursuit of education. He condemned the trend of the Black families, so many single-parents, and sometimes the parenting had to be carried out by the grandparents with no parents in the picture..He saved his harshest criticism for the Black youths that took the easy way out and dealt drugs to get easy money. He has continued to expound on these themes throughout the years. And as a result he is viewed by a large contingent of the Black community, especially the youth, as a crabby old man – and now as a hypocrite.

Later on in 1997, the Elephant In The Room threatened to become public knowledge. A young girl had tried to extort money out of Cosby by claiming to  be his daughter. She was jailed. In an interview with Dan Rather, Cosby acknowledged it might be true. He confessed to having an affair with the girl’s mother.

For the most part it was overlooked by the American public as being something celebrities do. Maybe though if the public had been aware of the fact Cosby paid the mother $750 per week, hush money, totaling about $100,000 while the girl was growing up, they might have taken it more seriously. And maybe if they had heard that the mother accused Cosby of drugging and raping her their first sexual encounter, they might have been more outraged.

For years, apparently, rumors had circulated about Cosby use of drugs to rape women. When women did come out with the accusations, they were not believed by the police and were not reported in the news. After all, Cosby was ‘America’s Dad’.

I was unaware of these accusations all the years I worked Cosby. I never seen him make any advances on women who were backstage. Always polite. A gentleman. But then, that’s how the 27 or so women, who recently accused him of drug rape, say he was a perfect gentleman until he got them along and spiked their drink.

Do I believe all these accusations? Well, there’s just too much smoke not to have fire. And each passing day it seems like the Elephant is getting bigger, and the Room is getting smaller.

Will it ever be proven one way or the other? Almost any sexual assault is a ‘She Said – He Said’ thing, and the most common defense for the accused is to blame the ‘victim’. Some of the accusers waited so long to speak out; mainly because they saw the ones that did speak out were often accused of lying to extort money from a rich and famous man. When you throw in celebrity status, money, and race into the mix, the waters become really muddy.

Cosby is still doing shows; but these are shows already contracted for, and the promoter fears a lawsuit if he drops Cosby. I can’t imagine a promoter booking a show now.

Cosby is old, real old, heck he’s a year older than me. There comes a point in one’s life where you just get too old to fight. Each performance brings out protesters and audience hecklers. And it will only get worse.

As I said at the top, I learned the first time I worked him, Cosby was no saint; but I never thought he would be accused of sinking this low. ‘America’s Dad’ has become ‘America’s Bad’. Oh, Bill!