Bill Cosby's Biographer Admits He Was Wrong

It seems that every day, another woman bravely steps forward to share her story of sexual assault at the hands of Bill Cosby, and as more and more details emerge, the situation only becomes more horrifying. One of the most sobering aspects, though, is that since the accusations against Cosby were ignored for so long, New York Times writer David Carr is calling out those who may have contributed to brushing the allegations under the rug. And his column may have made way for some progress. Mark Whitaker, the author of a recently published Cosby biography, has come forward to admit that he shouldn't have left the rape accusations out of his version of Cosby's life story.

In Carr's article, published Monday, he wrote that Whitaker should have taken the opportunity while writing Cosby: His Life and Times to discuss the allegations instead of avoiding them entirely:

Mr. Whitaker has said he didn’t want to put anything in the book, which he wrote with Mr. Cosby’s cooperation, that wasn’t confirmed — which of course raises the question of why he wouldn’t have done the work to knock down the accusations or make them stand up.

And given that the accusations had already been carefully and thoroughly reported in Philadelphia magazine and elsewhere, any book of the size and scope of Mr. Whitaker’s should have gone there.

This article prompted Whitaker to tweet that Carr is absolutely right, and that he should have brought those accusations to light:

Here's the thing, I think Whitaker has a lot of backtracking to do. Not only did he have 500 pages to discuss an issue that's at the forefront of the news right now and chose not to, but his Twitter profile is covered in Cosby from his cover photo to his tweets — and everything he's posted has been very complimentary until he chose to reply to Carr's article. Obviously, Whitaker can't instantly edit the words in a book that was sent out into the world two months ago, but he would do well to release a more complete explanation. To gloss over something that has affected so many people's lives negatively is presenting an inaccurate picture of who Cosby really is, and isn't that the opposite of what any biographer is trying to accomplish? If these accusations prove to be true, it changes who Cosby is in a very radical way. What kind of message does it send to Cosby's alleged victims (and all victims of rape) if his history can be rewritten just because of his fame and power?

Even more disturbing was Whitaker's discussion with The Daily Beast from Nov. 20, where he admitted he left out the allegations because he didn't want them to stick to Cosby's image permanently if they were untrue. Whitaker's of the opinion that Cosby's fan base will continue to support him even if the allegations are true, and it's my hope that he's wrong about that one.

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Now that so many victims are stepping forward, it seems that others who have felt they needed to stay silent are finally comfortable enough to share their own accounts. In the story's latest development, a 15th woman, 44-year-old Jena T., has opened up to People about her experience at the hands of Cosby, and the details of her story are similar to the ones his other accusers have reported. Despite new information that continues to emerge what seems like every day, Marty Singer, Cosby's lawyer, maintains Cosby's innocence in the official statement he released November 16:

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.

Additionally, Singer released a statement on Nov. 20 which pointed to the claims of one woman, Linda Joy Traitz, in particular, and further explains:

This continued pattern of attacks on Mr. Cosby has entered the realm of the ridiculous, with a purported "forceful kiss" at a party in 1967, nearly 50 years ago, being treated as a current "news story" and grossly mischaracterized as "sexual assault." This is utter nonsense. People coming out of nowhere with this sort of inane yarn is what happens in a media-driven feeding frenzy. We’ve reached the point of absurdity. The stories are getting more ridiculous. I think people are trying to come up with these wild stories in order to justify why they have waited 40 to 50 years to disclose these ridiculous accusations.

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