DISCUSSIONS: 1 – (JUNE 9) Race, gender or celebrity exploitation?

Is it race or celebrity exploitation? The court will decide culpability in this case but the behind-the-scenes activity is very troublesome. There are some obvious but troubling questions that come to mind relating to race, gender and celebrity?

Bill Cosby is accused of sexual assault and is being tried on this charge for having allegedly assaulted former Temple University (Philadelphia) basketball program director Andrea Constand, 31. Temple was Cosby’s alma mater. The American media publishes the story in more detail, with fuller lurid descriptions. It may be a sad comment on the American media. See VANITY FAIR

The more important questions surrounding this trial relate to race and celebrity.

Many women have stepped forward with their accusations about Cosby’s alleged sexual assaults. Only one will be permitted to testify in the trial besides Constand. This may be a wise decision by the judge as it minimizes the risk of witness testimonies affecting subsequent testimony.

However, there are a number of issues which are very troublesome about this case:

First, is Cosby guilty? This could be a matter of he said, she said. Very difficult.

Second, where were all these accusers over the many years? Given that each would have been traumatized by their experience, surely it is unlikely that all of them would have been too traumatized to press charges. Why have they come forth now? Is it the opportunity to defame a celebrity? Is it an opportunity to avenge their experience? Is it an opportunity of taking down a man of colour from the lofty level of celebrity status?

These are very troubling issues and the court will need the wisdom of Solomon to come to a decision.

The Toronto Star reporter, Steven Zeitchik writes an excellent piece about this case: Race, celebrity power or gender

What do you think?

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