Actor Joseph C. Phillips became the first former “Cosby Show” cast member to publicly break ranks with the program’s embattled star Bill Cosby in a blog post titled “Of Course Bill Cosby Is Guilty!” published on Monday.
Phillips, who played Cosby’s son-in-law for four seasons on the hit sitcom, wrote that while the 78-year-old comedian “was my boyhood idol” he had heard rumors of his infidelities for years. And when over two dozen women came forward to accuse Cosby of either drugging and/or sexual assaulting them over the past several decades, Phillips “became increasingly disturbed.”
Recently unearthed 2005 deposition testimony has confirmed that Cosby did procure Quaaludes in the 1970s for the purpose of seducing younger women for sexual affairs. While this admission doesn’t amount to a confession of guilt, it has been enough to turn some of Cosby’s most prominent supporters against him. Although Cosby has never been charged with a crime and has denied allegations in the past, his legacy has been seriously tarnished when allegations of inappropriate, and in some cases, criminal behavior resurfaced late last fall. While his former “Cosby Show” stars have either remained silent, neutral, or, in the case of actress Phylicia Rashad, come to this defense – none have declared his guilt, until now.
“Discovering that the man you idolize may be a serial rapist is a bit traumatic. I don’t imagine it is anything near to the trauma of the alleged victims. Nevertheless, I found it unsettling,” writes Phillips.
When he joined the show in 1989, Phillips writes that “it seemed to be common knowledge that Bill played around.” And although he never witnessed any salacious behavior firsthand, he does describe a recent “heartbreaking” encounter he had with a woman who claimed that she too was assaulted by Cosby.
“Through tears, she told me her story. She cursed him for violating both her trust and her body. She cursed herself for not being smarter, and for degrading herself in pursuit of success,” writes Phillips.
Although Phillips does not reveal the woman’s name, he confirms in his blog post that he not only believes her story but those of most of Cosby’s accusers, even though he admits to initially believing “that some of the women were lying through their teeth.”
Phillips, who never had another role that eclipsed the one he played on “The Cosby Show,” has rebranded himself in recent years as conservative writer and commentator. He has been an outspoken opponent of affirmative action, reparations and same-sex marriage. He was the national co-chair of the African-American steering committee for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign and served on the RNC’s African-American advisory board.
While Phillips argues that the positive contributions of the “good Bill” should never be discounted or forgotten, he’s “angry” with his former co-star and concerned that by maintaining such a public profile Cosby is doing permanent harm to himself and his fans.
He ends his blog post with a plea directed at Cosby: “Bill, you have a family who loves you, a wife who is devoted to you; you have more money than you can spend. Please, go live a quiet country life. Allow those of us who truly love you to preserve just a bit of our enchantment.”