Through a statement from his attorney, Bill Cosby said his comment last week asking the black media to remain unbiased was "misconstrued" and then criticized a prominent black journalist's "mean-spirited and reckless rhetoric."
Last week, Cosby spoke to New York Post reporter Stacy Brown to comment on the flood of recent rape allegations against him. In his statement, he urged "black media" to remain neutral when reporting on the story:
"Let me say this. I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind," Cosby said
That statement spectacularly backfired when National Association of Black Journalists Bob Butler spoke out to TMZ, rejecting everything about Cosby's statement. " You don't go easier on a person with color. Its wrong for journalism period," Butler said. "This not a color issue, this is a journalism issue … black people happen to be reporters."
On Thursday, Cosby's lawyer John P. Schmitt released a statement slamming previous reports that the comedian had asked for special treatment from black media reporters and outlets.
Mr. Brown identified himself to Mr. Cosby as a freelance reporter for a number of African-American media. To be clear, Mr. Cosby did not ask for special treatment from the African-American media. To the ontrary, he asked that they adhere to journalistic standards and approach the story in a neutral manner—without a predisposition to either side of the story. It is of course what we would expect of all media.
Schmitt's statement specifically took aim at another writer, Georgetown University professor and author Michael Eric Dyson, calling him a "persistent critic of Mr. Cosby."
In perhaps the most egregious example, Michael Eric Dyson, who has been a persistent critic of Mr. Cosby's call for responsibility in the African-American community, has stated that Mr. Cosby's request for neutrality is part of what he calls Mr. Cosby's "rape [of the ] entire black community." Mr. Cosby understands that Mr. Dyson does not agree with Mr. Cosby's views, but such mean-spirited and reckless rhetoric cannot go unchallenged by responsible people and journalists.
Dyson has been an extremely vocal critic of Cosby's for a long time; his disagreements with Cosby's opinions about the black community goes back nearly a decade . Earlier this week, Dyson spoke out about Cosby's statement referring to the black media to MSNBC and did not hold back on how he felt:
"Look – Bill Cosby has had an incredible career as the Mark Twain of American comedy, and for 45 years he has never mentioned race in his comedic act," Dyson said. "Now all of a sudden he becomes a race expert because he is pissed off."
"You're beating up on people. You're a hypocrite by doing so," Dyson said. "Bill Cosby has been relentless and nasty...The very kind of man who will rape a woman allegedly is the same kind of man who will rape an entire black community – poor black people who are vulnerable before him, using his powerful foot to clamp down on their necks."
Meanwhile, accusations against Cosby continue to come. The Daily Mail reports a woman identified only as Lisa said the comedian drugged her in 1988 when she was an aspiring model:
She claimed that he offered her a small, brown drink, saying it would relax her before reading the lines. She initially refused, saying she didn't drink, but he insisted so she acquiesced. 'He made a second drink and had me drink the second drink as well,' she said. 'I noticed myself getting a little dizzy.' Cosby sat on the edge of a couch and told her to sit down. He had his legs open and she sat between them with her back to his crotch, she said.
'He started to stroke my hair back in a petting motion,' she said. 'The last thing I remember is just feeling the strokes on my head. After that, I don't remember anything else.'
Watch the video below or here for Dyson's reaction to Cosby's statement about black media (starts at around 5:30).
Image via Getty.