Cosby breaks his silence
By Brian Stelter and Kevin Conlon, (CNN) — Amid mounting allegations against him, Bill Cosby has broken his silence. Well, sort of.
Cosby, accused of rape and other misdeeds by an increasing number of women, was reached at home on Friday by a freelance reporter for the New York Post.
While Cosby offered Stacy Brown more than the head-shake that caused several moments of awkward radio silence during an interview with NPR, he did not address the allegations.
Instead, he offered his expectations for how the media — specifically, “the black media” — should cover the story.
“Let me say this,” the 77-year-old said. “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’s reputation has suffered in the wake of the allegations. On Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Spelman College, to which Cosby and wife Camille donated $20 million in 1987, has suspended the Cosby Chair for the Humanities while the controversy continues.
“The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship was established to bring positive attention and accomplished visiting scholars to Spelman College in order to enhance our intellectual, cultural and creative life,” a school spokeswoman told the newspaper. “The current context prevents us from continuing to meet these objectives fully. Consequently, we will suspend the program until such time that the original goals can again be met.”
Cosby himself cut ties with his beloved Temple University, where he served on the board, two weeks ago. Cosby attended Temple in the early ’60s.
Despite Cosby’s challenges, Brown wrote that the comedian “sounded upbeat on the phone,” especially when it came to a question about how his wife, Camille, is holding up.
“Love and the strength of womanhood,” Cosby said. “Let me say it again, love and the strength of womanhood. And, you could reverse it, the strength of womanhood and love.”
The actor then resumed his public relations posture of late and ended the conversation, saying, “They don’t want me talking to the media.”
Brown also writes for the Washington Informer, a newspaper targeted to the African-American community, and he spoke with CNN about their conversation. Brown said he came away with the clear sense that Cosby actually doesn’t want to stay silent at all but is nevertheless deferring to the guidance of his representatives for the time being.
“I definitely came away with the belief that he wants to talk about everything,” Brown said. “He seemed as if he really does have a lot to say and, oddly enough, he didn’t in any way appear worried about anything. To me, he sounded like a happy individual without a care in the world.”
As for how he sort of landed a sort of scoop, Brown said he had been keeping in touch with Cosby’s camp for the past three and a half weeks — and at one point even thought he was close to securing an interview — but when his people changed their minds, Brown did an end-around.
“I had Mr. Cosby’s personal number and decided to give it a shot.”