Monday, November 24, 2014

Bill Cosby Accusers Redefining Comedian's Legacy

Showbiz fixers weigh in on the comedian's PR disaster, and say silence is golden
Bill Cosby‘s latest PR nightmare is no laughing matter. Just one day after the iconic comedian refused to answer questions about multiple sexual allegations during an interview with NPR, another victim has come forward.

So far the comedian has only issued a statement through his attorney denying the allegations. Is Cosby's strategy working so far?

According to president and CEO of Centurion Strategies Michael Bilello, “When he did the NPR interview and literally said ‘no’ to making a comment it's interpreted as stonewalling, and guilt is associated with that tactic. The public assumes you're hiding something. That is the worst thing you can do.”

The sexual allegations against Cosby were reignited after a social media stunt soliciting memes with the comedian's picture went terribly wrong. Cosby's Twitter account was soon flooded with user-generated memes, but not the kind the comedian was hoping for.

“My two favorite things are Jello and Rape,” said one follower. Another asked, “Someone really thought #CosbyMeme was a good idea?”

But snark may be the least of Cosby's problems. “There's the court of public opinion and then there's the court of law,” said Bragman.

The allegations picked up steam last week after actress Barbara Bowman claimed that Cosby raped her in an essay in the Washington Post. Then another woman, a publicist by the name of Joan Tarshis, came forward with similar claims.

Recent comments about the scandal made by comedian Hannibal Buress during a standup routine in Philadelphia only added fuel to the fire.

In an effort to stop the crisis, Cosby's lawyers issued a statement on the comedian's official site saying he would not be addressing “decade-old, discredited allegations.”

The combined effect of all the negative attention could jeopardize a planned NBC primetime series and an hour-long Netflix special, but so far neither have been scrapped. “NBC is going to take time to see which way the wind blows,” predicted Bragman.

Cosby settled out of court with one of his accusers, Andrea Constand, in 2006. So far 14 women have come forward claiming similar allegations. And that, according to Bragman, is far worse than any canceled sitcom.

“His best hope right now is that someone else does something really stupid that attracts even more attention and claims the spotlight.”

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