After years of allegations and trials, a jury closed the saga of Bill Cosby’s history of sexual assault by finding him guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
Cosby, now 80, once had a very different image. He was a comedian whose material ranged from the exaggerated lens of childhood posed by Fat Albert to the idealized television father presented by Dr. Huxtable. Prior to the allegations of sexual assault emerging, Cosby had recast himself as a conservative motivational speaker, telling young black men that over-incarceration, poverty, and economic instability in black communities was the fault of black men failing to embrace personal responsibility. But in recent years, the reality behind the image was exposed.
In recent years Cosby admitted to drugging women with quaaludes in an effort to have sex. In the wake of #MeToo, Cosby manages a new groundbreaking image: he is the first famous figure to be held legally accountable for his crimes against women.
Following the verdict in which the comedian was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, Cosby erupted into a tirade calling the prosecutor an asshole. Cosby faces between 15 and 30 years in prison, meaning he will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.
Comedian Larry Wilmore reacted by sharing a clip from his now-cancelled Comedy Central series where he said, “If you’re really so cavalier about the women whose dignity you robbed, then you should be somewhere between a maximum security prison and hell.”
Wilmore is far from the only voice taking to Twitter following the verdict.
This Bill Cosby verdict is a big deal.
A really big deal.
Women were sexually assaulted by this man and then dragged through the mud by his lawyers and a lot of the press.
I hope they are able to find some sliver of peace and healing today.❤️
— andy lassner (@andylassner) April 26, 2018
My fighter mama @GloriaAllred represents 33 Bill Cosby accusers, and 3 who testified. She was attacked and smeared by the defense throughout the trial.
I knew that would backfire.
Three cheers for you, Mom, and your relentless insistence on justice for women.
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) April 26, 2018
Bill Cosby found guilty on all charges. Harvey Weinstein, you’re up next.
— Jenny Johnson (@JennyJohnsonHi5) April 26, 2018
Bill Cosby called someone an asshole in court while trying to clarify that he does not own a private plane and wow can you even imagine the lack of self-awareness.
Like THATS the fact that you want to clarify?
— Sophia Benoit (@1followernodad) April 26, 2018
Cosby…from lambasting the Black community with respectability politics to going to prison for the rest of his life.
— Marcus H. Johnson (@marcushjohnson) April 26, 2018
The state of America is this- Even with dozens of accusers we were all afraid Bill Cosby would walk.
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) April 26, 2018
It should be noted that many alleged abusers of women not only have not been made to stand trial, but retain positions of power, including members of Congress, state legislators and the President of the United States. As of this writing, there are currently no current criminal court proceedings against any of the other powerful men in politics, media, and pop culture who have been accused of sexually assaulting women.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.