Five days ago, Bill Cosby’s spokespeople announced that town halls featuring the disgraced comedian were in the works, because “anything at this point can be considered sexual assault and it’s a good thing to be educated about the law.” Now they are backtracking on the idea that these town halls have anything to do with sexual assault. Instead, these town halls will reportedly focus on restoring Cosby’s legacy.
Andrew Wyatt and Ebonee Benson appeared on “Good Day Alabama” on June 21 to discuss the mistrial that was declared the weekend prior in the sexual assault case against Cosby. During the interview, they also said that they were in the process of planning town halls around the country.
“We are now planning town halls and we’re gonna be coming to this city sometime in July,” Wyatt said. “To talk to young people because this is bigger than Bill Cosby. This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today. And they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things that they shouldn’t be doing — and it also affects married men.”
Ebonee added: “Laws are changing. The statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault are being extended. So, this is why people need to be educated on a brush against the shoulder, you know anything at this point can be considered sexual assault and it’s a good thing to be educated about the laws.”
Hmmm.... that sure sounds like a discussion of sexual assault and sexual assault legislation to us!
On June 22, Wyatt expanded on the purpose of these town halls in a statement to HuffPost. He wrote that he and Benson had “received hundreds of calls from civic organizations and churches requesting for Mr. Cosby to speak to young men and women about the judicial system.”
He further explained: “These groups would like for Mr. Cosby to share that people in the judicial system can use their powers to annul deals for personal agenda and political ambitions.”
But on CNN New Day Weekend on Sunday, Benson told Christi Paul a very different story.
“I just want to be clear. The town hall meetings are not about sexual assault. I will repeat. These town hall meetings are not about sexual assault,” she said.
Benson then blamed the media for “sensationalizing” the initial story.
“When we initially talked about the town hall meetings it was about restoration of legacy. Much to what Mrs. Cosby spoke on in her statement is the sensationalism brought on by the media,” Benson said. “This is another example of that. To take something that was meant to talk about the restoration of this man’s legacy that was destroyed by the media before he even had a chance to step into the courtroom. That’s what this is about.”
It remains to be seen what of Cosby’s legacy these town hall speeches will be attempting to restore. The comedian has not been acquitted of the sexual assault charges brought by Andrea Constand, and Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele has said that he intends to retry the case.
In total, Cosby has been publicly accused of sexually assaulting or harassing nearly 60 women.