Bill Cosby was once known as “America’s Dad” for his iconic role as the lovable father figure Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the hit TV show The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992. However, in recent years, Cosby’s wholesome reputation has been completely decimated by allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted dozens of women over decades.
The sheer number of assault accusations against Cosby is staggering – over 60 women have come forward with disturbingly similar stories of being drugged and violated by him.
As more and more harrowing accounts surfaced, public perception of Cosby swiftly turned from endearment to disgust. The man who was once one of America’s most beloved comedians is now widely despised and condemned. But why exactly do people now hate Bill Cosby?
Main Reasons for Public Disdain of Bill Cosby
He Symbolizes Betrayal of Trust
One of the main reasons Bill Cosby is so hated now is that he represents a deep betrayal of the public’s trust. As the star of one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1980s and 1990s, Cosby cultivated an image of a caring father figure both on screen and off. His comedy was family-friendly, focusing on universal topics like parenting and childhood.
Audiences thought they knew the real Bill Cosby – an amusing curmudgeon and wise mentor. But the allegations of rape, assault and egregious abuse of power upended all of that. He deceived his fans and take advantage of younger, vulnerable women behind closed doors. This hypocrisy and deception enrages people.
The Scope of His Alleged Abuses Is Vast
The magnitude of Cosby’s alleged predatory behavior is truly staggering and contributes to public hatred of him. Over 60 women have accused Cosby of rape or sexual assault, with incidents dating back to the 1960s.
Many of his accusers were aspiring actresses and models who viewed him as a mentor and gatekeeper to career opportunities. The pattern was disturbingly similar – he would gain their trust and then drug and assault them.
Such prolonged, serial abuse of power and the destroyed lives in its wake stokes people’s disgust for Cosby. He is seen as a calculating sexual predator who hid behind his family-friendly public persona.
He Has Never Faced Criminal Punishment
Another source of outrage against Cosby is that he has largely evaded any legal punishment commensurate with the severity of alleged abuses. While he did face some civil lawsuits, he was never criminally convicted for sexual assault.
A particularly infuriating case was his 2017 mistrial on charges of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand. Although over 50 women had accused him of similar assaults, the prosecution was only allowed to present one additional supporting accuser.
The lack of criminal sanctions on Cosby – in part due to the statutes of limitation expiring – angers people who want to see justice served. He remains free while his alleged victims continue to bear trauma.
He Has Never Admitted Guilt or Apologized
What further incenses people against Cosby is his absolute lack of remorse, admission of guilt, or apologies to his alleged victims. He has continuously and categorically denied all accusations against him.
In depositions, he admitted to giving women quaaludes before sexual encounters but claimed it was consensual. He settling multiple lawsuits out of court, often using confidentiality agreements, which detractors seem as evidence of guilt.
His defiant stance that he has done nothing wrong in the face of extensive allegations rubs people the wrong way. Many feel that if he would just own up to his actions and apologize, public perception might shift slightly. But his recalcitrance adds fuel to the fire of hatred.
His Attempted Comeback Sparked Outrage
When Cosby attempted a comedy comeback tour in 2018, three years into the rape scandal, it provoked greater public furor against him. Protestors hounded his shows, which were largely cancelled.
The tour demonstrated an arrogance and lack of awareness that enraged people. It seemed emblematic of a man completely removed from the gravity of the accusations against him. How could Cosby expect to simply resume his entertainment career amidst such serious scandal? The ill-conceived comeback Attempt only worsened his reputation.
What Groups Tend to Most Oppose Bill Cosby?
Certain demographic segments tend to harbor particularly strong antipathy toward Bill Cosby.
It’s not surprising that women are overwhelmingly opposed to Bill Cosby given the nature of the allegations against him. His accusers are mostly women who say he exploited his power in the entertainment industry to manipulate and assault them. Stars like Tina Fey have condemned him. Powerful advocacy groups like the National Organization for Women (NOW) have publicly denounced him too.
Many African Americans who once respected Cosby’s achievements have turned against him. They feel he was a hypocrite for lecturing poor black communities about morality while allegedly assaulting women himself. And Cosby tended to target vulnerable black women. High-profile black people like Phylicia Rashad and Jill Scott do still defend him. But overall, he seems widely scorned among African Americans now.
Millennials and Gen Z
Younger people who grew up after The Cosby Show tend to be extremely critical of Bill Cosby and his alleged actions. Younger women in particular align with the #MeToo movement’s goals of exposing sexual harassment and assault. To them, Cosby is a predator who needs to be held accountable. Even many younger comedians like Hannibal Buress openly mock Cosby.
Cosby’s wholesome family-man image won him broad admiration in the 1980s and 1990s. But even older fans who leaned left have turned on him as the assault accusations accumulated. His hypocrisy flies in the face of progressive principles of gender equality and accountability.
Bill Cosby’s stunning fall from grace has made him a pariah in the eyes of the American public. The comedian once universally beloved for playing Dr. Huxtable is now despised for allegedly drugging and assaulting dozens of women over decades. His perceived hypocrisy and betrayal of trust fuel people’s contempt.
The scope and severity of the accusations against him are deeply disturbing. His lack of legal punishment and refusal to admit guilt or apologize further incense detractors. Attempts at a comeback in the midst of accusations only worsened his standing.
While pockets of defenders remain, Cosby largely faces opposition from women, African Americans, younger people, and older progressives – once his biggest fans. His reputation seems permanently and irreparably ruined.
FAQs About Why People Hate Bill Cosby
How many women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault?
Over 60 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of rape, drug facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct. The incidents date back as far as the mid-1960s.
Has Bill Cosby been criminally convicted for sexual assault?
No, Bill Cosby has never been convicted of any criminal charges related to sexual assault, despite being accused by over 60 women. He faced three felony charges of aggravated indecent assault in 2017 related to an accusation by Andrea Constand, but the case resulted in a mistrial and the charges were dropped. Most cases exceeded statues of limitations.
What was Bill Cosby best known for before the allegations?
Before the sexual assault allegations surfaced, Bill Cosby was best known for his pioneering stand-up comedy career in the 1960s and the hit sitcom The Cosby Show, on which he played lovable father Dr. Cliff Huxtable from 1984 to 1992. He was considered “America’s Dad.”
When did accusations against Bill Cosby first become public?
In 2014, comedian Hannibal Buress included jokes about the sexual assault accusations against Cosby in his stand-up routine, bringing wider public awareness to them. But rumors had circulated about his abuse of women in the entertainment industry since the late 1980s.
Has Bill Cosby admitted to any wrongdoing?
Cosby has adamantly denied all accusations against him and has not admitted to any criminal wrongdoing. In depositions, he acknowledged obtaining quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with but said it was consensual. He settled many accusers’ lawsuits out of court.