Bummer, man. It’s the worst when something gets taken away without consent. Like a brand new bike, or an honorary degree, or your physical and emotional well-being after serial rapist attacks.
Today, there’s another update on the story as Temple University in Philadelphia has revoked his degree. From the Philly Inquirer:
Temple University revoked the honorary degree it awarded to Bill Cosby in 1991, cutting the last remaining tie with the disgraced entertainer who arguably was the school’s most famous alumnus and for years a fixture at university commencements.
My initial reaction besides, “well, yeah, fuck that guy,” is that they should have done this a long time ago. Especially considering one of the women he drugged and assaulted was Temple employee Andrea Constand.
When the decision was announced, VP of the board, Gerry Lenfest, said,
“The bottom line is that Temple held off on taking away his honorary degree until there was a verdict.”
Not good enough for me. Over 60 women coming forward with strikingly similar stories of his disgusting, illegal, life-altering acts should have sufficed. I get that ‘you’re innocent until proven guilty’ and blah, blah, blah, but in this case their overwhelming outcries should have been believed, despite his, and his legal team’s attempt to deny it like a coward.
Gloria Allred, who represents over 30 of Cosby’s victims spoke on this at a press conference,
“We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed, and not only on #MeToo, but in a court of law where they were under oath, where they testified truthfully, where they were attacked, where they were smeared, where they were denigrated, where there were attempts to discredit them.”
Growing up in the Philly area, Cosby wasn’t just a TV celeb but a local hero, too. When I was a kid my parents had a record player and my Dad and I would listen to Cosby’s comedy albums, and I loved the Cosby Show. Temple was where he went until he dropped out to pursue acting but he always stayed connected. He’d be at their sporting events we went to, and spoke at Temple commencements and performed there, and he was on their Board of Trustees. He also gave out yearly scholarships and donated to the school. I genuinely liked and admired who I thought he was.
In 2014 I even got tickets for my parents and I to see him at Carnegie Hall, ::hindsight collar pull::. Apparently rumors had been swirling for decades, but I’d never heard them. And then right after the show, this clip of comedian Hannibal Buress calling Cosby out started making the rounds:
I legit couldn’t believe it, and then I started googling and felt sick to my stomach. It’s been in the news ever since and now I’m happy to see there’s finally a bit of justice. Those women will never get back what he took from them, but I hope this helps them move forward with their lives. And he’ll never get that honorary degree back, and he’s left a stain on the reputation of a school he’d always worked to lift up.