On Thursday, Ebony magazine released their November issue and immediately caused a stir — especially on Twitter. The Ebony 's Family Issue features a photo of the Cosby Show cast with a shattered glass overlay. And it — along with a feature on the effect the sexual abuse allegations brought against Bill Cosby has had on the perception of a show that had such a powerful effect on black American families — really has people talking.
In "Cliff-Hanger: Can The Cosby Show Survive? Should It?" writer Goldie Taylor "explores the intensely complicated relationship between the fallen icon, his most beloved character and the broken hearts of Black America." The conversation has exploded, which is exactly what Ebony Editor-In-Chief Kierna Mayo wanted. She tweeted from her personal account: "Fascinating to witness how divided we are on the subject of #CosbyvsCliff. Keep talking people. Keep talking."
Ebony released a statement about the cover to E! News, saying,
This is our annual Family Issue and we decided, after much deliberation, to go with a focus on what we felt was an urgent and provocative conversation happening within the Black community. It wasn't just about making a statement; the cover is also asking questions. Can we separate the man with 50 or more allegations of sexual assault and related crimes against him from the fictional, heroic father? Should we? I think it is fair to say that no matter what someone feels about our cover, Ebony is not the reason there is a shattered family image we are dealing with. This is a moment of reflection, for many Black people, a painful one for different reasons.
As for Cosby's response to the allegations, his lawyer issued this statement last November:
Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives.
Like the issue at hand of separating Cosby, the man, from Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the beloved sitcom character, the responses to the cover on Twitter have been nuanced and widely divided. Many have responded with praise, many with outrage, but there are also those talking about Ebony itself — either about the courage the magazine had to take this approach or arguing that the publication crossed the line.
The photo is an old cast photo from The Cosby Show, with shattered glass obscuring Bill Cosby's face; a literal but extremely effective photo, as Cosby's image, too, has been irrevocably damaged after more than 50 women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault. Take a look at some of the responses.
Shock & Applause
Many Twitter users were blown away — in a good way — by just how rocked and moved they were by the powerful cover art.
Appreciation For The Approach
A lot of readers responded with applause and admiration for the magazine's straight-forward and blunt approach.
Outrage & Backash
A lot of people are upset that the image used on the cover is one from The Cosby Show, commenting that decision was unfair to the rest of the cast. Then there are those who defended Cosby in the face of the allegations against him.
Pointing Out The Irony
Some are focused on the irony of where the outrage is directed — at the magazine for publishing such a cover, and not at Cosby in light of the alleged assaults.
Talking The Alleged Victims
And, thankfully, some Twitter users are making a point to call attention to the fact that the more people are outraged by the alleged victims' claims, the more it discourages others from telling their stories, which is never a good thing.
Regardless of what you — or any of the people speaking out — think of the cover, it's clear that it's served it's purpose: getting people talking about an important topic.