Whoopi Goldberg on Tuesdday became the latest celebrity defender of Bill Cosby to change her tune, telling the audience of her daytime talk show “The View” that “all of the information that’s out there kinda points to guilt.”
The Oscar-winning actress had previously been one of the most outspoken voices on behalf of the embattled comedian. Cosby has been accused of drugging and/or sexual assault by dozens of women since last fall. Although he has never been charged with a crime and has denied the allegations in the past, recently unearthed Cosby testimony from 2005 confirmed that he did procure Quaaludes in the 1970s for the purpose of seducing young women. Even after that revelation, Goldberg insisted on air that Cosby had not been “proven a rapist.”
In the days since, Goldberg has been widely ridiculed for her passionate defense of the 78-year-old performer. Comedian John Oliver even dedicated a whole segment of his HBO series “Last Week Tonight” to mocking Goldberg’s tendency to play devil’s advocate for controversial celebrities like Roman Polanski, Ray Rice, Chris Brown and Mel Gibson.
“I have been taking a lot of heat for various reasons,” Goldberg conceded on Tuesday.
“The View” panel welcomed legal analyst Dan Abrams as their guest to – in Goldberg’s words – “help me understand a lot of what’s going on.” After Abrams explained that the statute of limitations would likely prevent Cosby from ever being prosecuted, Goldberg said, “I always thought that rape cases were open-ended.”
“You got a serial rapist, he’s been on the streets for 30 years,” Goldberg added. “I thought, ‘Here’s all the information. Take his a– to jail.’ I find out from you that that’s not possible … So, I can’t say any more ‘innocent until proven guilty’.”
Goldberg concluded her remarks by directly addressing Cosby: “It looks bad, Bill. Either speak up or shut up, ‘cause people know now there’s a lot more out there than they thought.”
Singer and actress Jill Scott made a similar public about-face on the comedian last week. In a series of tweets following the revelations of the unsealed 2005 testimony she retracted her prior defense of Cosby. “About Bill Cosby. Sadly his own testimony offers PROOF of his terrible deeds, which is all I have ever required to believe the accusations,” she tweeted. “I stood by a man I respected and loved. I was wrong. It HURTS!!!,” she added.
Meanwhile, an effort is underway to force the White House to consider taking back Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, which Cosby received from President George W. Bush in 2002.
The petition, drafted by Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment (PAVE), a sexual assault prevention and awareness group, currently has just over 10,000 signatures. It will have top 100,000 to get an official White House response.