Fri | Dec 9, 2016

I molested Bill Cosby

Published:Monday | December 1, 2014 | 11:23 AMPatria-Kaye Aarons

Yup, I said it. I took advantage of a poor, defenceless old man. It was a cold Philadelphia day in 2010 and an unassuming Bill was sitting in the infield at the Penn Relays minding his own business.

I'm a big fan, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to meet the man I had been watching on TV for nearly 30 years. The PR practitioner in me knows how to spot an opportunity and also knows that if there's no evidence of the act, it didn't happen. So I put my good friend and cameraman, Collins Reid, on standby to capture the epic moment that was about to go down.
I went over to Mr Cosby and whispered in his right ear, "You ever been kissed by a Jamaican girl?" And before he could reply, or protest, or run, I planted a wet one squarely on his cheek. Colin's camera went crazy. Mr Cosby and I both had a good laugh about that moment I molested him.
I feel, however, that I'm not the only one who has molested Mr Cosby, and the other occasions have not been so laughable. The courts of public opinion and big national networks have done the same. Forget 'innocent until proven guilty'. The new mantra is 'guilty just in case'.

Netflix cancelled Bill's upcoming special, TV Land pulled all Cosby Show reruns, and a new venture being worked on with NBC was postponed, all because of unproven 50-year-old sexual allegations against a 77-year-old man.
I take note of three unsettling things:
* Not one allegation has been reported in what I would consider a credible source. The same website that carries stories of UFO sightings and two-headed dogs is hardly a credible news source. The site that broke the story that Raven Symone was molested by Cosby is called hiphophangover. Other headlines of the publication include 'Kim Kardashian held at gunpoint. Kanye responsible.' and 'Cancer diagnosed with Wendi Williams'. None of the three is true.

* I am hard-pressed to believe that in the 1960s, a black man would have molested a white girl and it get shoved under the carpet. That missed opportunity seems suspicious.

* Why now? Why all of you now?
Rape is a reprehensible thing. If at all Bill Cosby committed even one of the heinous acts he is accused of, he should be punished to the full extent of the law. The personal violation that a raped woman goes through is unforgivable, and no one should ever have to suffer that indignity.

I bawled when I heard of the rape of the five women and girls in Irwin, St James. I am still very unsettled that justice has yet to be served, as no one has been convicted of that gruesome act. If Mr Cosby did rape, he and every other man that commit such an act should be publicly put to shame and be made to serve time for the hurt and abuse inflicted upon the woman he wronged. But that’s only if he is guilty.
I stop to consider the man who is accused of rape. Rightfully so or not, their names are dragged through the mud by everyone the tale is told to. Guilty or not, the world will forever see him as a rapist. His life will be shrouded in whispering and disdain. An innocent man doesn’t deserve that.
Who knows? Bill Cosby is probably a frisky man. And he probably flirts more than the average joe. But that doesn’t him a rapist make.
As a woman, and as a woman who is always quick to advocate for the protection of women and children, I question whether or not my article is a slap in the face of that cause. Real questions about justice and the judicial process arise. If a woman accuses a man of rape, should we not simply take her word for it? My fierce emotional desire to protect my gender immediately says, yes. But I know that men have been falsely accused far too often by women scorned. 
I’m not star-struck. There have been other celebrities (local and overseas) who have faced the courts and been found guilty, and even with overwhelming evidence against them, people still sided with their 'stars'. Stardom places people on an untouchable pillar that blinds others to the wrong they do, no matter how heinous the crime.

This isn’t one of those cases for me. I still want to marry Cliff Huxtable. That iconic portrayal of a big, happy black family headed by two successful parents is my ideal. However, I can separate Cliff Huxtable from Bill Cosby if ever the courts find the latter guilty.
Bill Cosby deserves his day in court. As does everyone else accused of wrongdoing. I am not judge or jury, and knowing just how important reputation is, I leave the decisions to the legal process.

I won’t jump the gun and write off Bill, and I don’t think that diminishes my empathy for the women who have come forward. If he did the crime, he deserves every bit of this 'sufferation'.

But if he didn’t, forget Fat Albert, forget Kids Say the Darndest Things, forget Cliff Huxtable; his most memorable role will forever be Cliff the Rapist. Tough role to play if you didn’t do the deed. 

Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.