Publisher Simon & Schuster has removed all celebrity endorsements from the cover of a Bill Cosby biography. Among those whose accolades will no longer appear on the cover of Cosby: His Life and Times , a September 2014 biography by Mark Whitaker, are Mary Tyler Moore, Jerry Seinfeld, and David Letterman. Cary Goldstein, the VP and Executive Director of Policy of Simon & Schuster, told the AP that some of the celebrities asked for their quotes to be pulled, but Goldstein wouldn't name names. The book's back cover is now entirely blacked out on Amazon and other retail outlets, although it remains intact on the publisher's website.
The deletion of the endorsements follows a Wednesday announcement from Simon & Schuster, in which the publisher stated it has no plans to release a paperback edition of Cosby. Whitaker's biography was well-received upon its initial publication, but has performed poorly in sales as an increasing number of women have come forward accusing Bill Cosby of rape. Cosby and its author were criticized for ignoring the allegations, for which Whitaker admitted negligence.
Earlier this month, The Associated Press published 2005 court testimony from Cosby in which the comedian admitted to acquiring Quaaludes to give young women. Cosby claimed all women who received the drugs from him did so knowingly, but also conceded that he does not know whether the women who received the drugs from him could have fended off his advances if they were unwanted. Cosby gave the testimony in a civil suit against him, brought by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. The plaintiff and 13 Jane Doe witnesses were prepared to testify in court that they were sexual victims of Cosby's. The suit ultimately settled out of court. To date, more than 40 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault.
Cosby’s lawyer’s response to the accusations, made in November 2014, reads as follows:
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.
On Thursday, Cosby's attorneys asked a judge to hold Constand's lawyers responsible for the initial release of deposition testimony by the AP, claiming this violated "undisclosed terms of the confidential agreement that settled the ... sexual-assault lawsuit."
A representative for Seinfeld and Letterman told The Hollywood Reporter that the stars were "asking the publisher to refrain from future use" of the comments. Given the book's poor sales figures, and rankings currently in the 300,000s on Amazon, Hillel Italie of the AP predicts that a total recall of Cosby will not be necessary. And with all of the controversy, I doubt another print run is in Cosby's future, celebrity endorsements or no.
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