Strategist, entrepreneur and commentator Craig Coogan examines issues with his unique perspective. NOTE: The views expressed in this blog are of the author (Craig Coogan) alone. They do not represent any organization, client, or business that he may be associated with. You are welcome to comment below. Thank you for reading!
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Limitation on Decency
I used to watch “The Cosby Show” as part of NBC’s “Must See TV” line-up on Thursday nights. It wasn’t one of
those shows I absolutely had to watch, but if I was able to see it then I would
watch it. It held the 8pm slot for all eight seasons and was an innocuous look
at a upper middle-class family with issues – they just happened to be African
American. The show was accessible to everybody, producing ratings and honors
that previously hadn’t occurred. It won a bucket load of awards, including the
Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. The show lived on in syndication from 1997.
In 2015, the last television syndicators stopped running the show, though it
remains available on Hulu. Events of the last few years are unlikely to have
ever been part of the show's premise.
Bill Cosby, the show’s protagonist and namesake, had been a
successful comedian and ad pitch man before taking on the role of Clifford
Huxtable. After that, he continued to produce and star in television shows. He
was a staple on our sets from the 1960s through the 2000s. He was somebody we
knew, we felt comfortable with … and dare I say … we trusted.
Wikipedia states: “As of September 30, 2015, Cosby has been accused by at least 54 women
of either rape, drug facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery and/or sexual
misconduct, with the earliest alleged incidents taking place in the mid-1960s.
He has denied the allegations and has never been criminally charged. Most of
the acts alleged by his accusers fall outside the statutes of limitations for legal
There have been a slew of colleges, universities and other
institutions that have withdrawn honorary degrees, awards, etc., based on the
rumors. The comedian has refused to address them, stating that he doesn’t
respond to “innuendo.”
“President Obama got into the conflict saying “there is no mechanism to revoke Bill Cosby's Medal of Freedom.” He then went
on to say that having sex with somebody without their consent is wrong and is
rape. The link was unmistakable – the President believes the allegations are
But they aren’t. At least, not legally. Nothing’s been
proven. 54 people making similar accusations leads one to a very clear
conclusion, and that’s why he’s become a pariah and can’t work and his
namesake show is off the air.
“The purpose and effect of statutes of limitations are to protect defendants.
There are three reasons for their existence:
> A plaintiff with a valid cause of action should
pursue it with reasonable diligence. > A defendant might have lost evidence to disprove
a stale claim. > A long-dormant claim has ‘more cruelty than
There’s something suspicious about 54 people not saying
anything for decades. Bill Cosby carried no particular role of authority (like
a priest or others). Awful, repugnant, and indecent are the actions that Cosby’s
accused of. There’s also something wrong about convicting a man without a
trial. It seems un-American to this most American of men. Perhaps this proves
that there’s a limitation on decency?