Comedian Bill Cosby addressed the mounting allegations of sexual assault against him in a taped interview that aired Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America."
In his highest-profile television interview since accusations of drugging and rape resurfaced late last year, the 77-year-old icon said, "I have been in this business 52 years and I've never seen anything like this." He added, "Reality is the situation and I can't speak."
Cosby has never been charged with a crime and has denied allegations in the past. He has made passing references to the allegations against him in public, but has largely refused to speak about charges his attorney has described as “unsubstantiated” and “fantastical.”
Cosby appeared on the show to promote a march planned for Friday across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama to raise awareness about education. The march is being coordinated by The Black Belt Community Foundation, a 10-year-old nonprofit organization which aims to improve the quality of life for people living in the area. Prior to the march, Cosby spoke to local youth from the Selma and Demopolis areas. When asked by ABC's Linsey Davis what he would say if confronted by a young person about the allegations against him, he suggested his message was more important than the messenger.
“I am prepared to tell this young person – the truth about life," Cosby said. "I think that many of them say well ‘you’re a hypocrite’. You say one thing, you say the other. My point is, OK, listen to me carefully – I’m telling you where the road is out. I’m telling you where as you’re driving you’re gonna go into water and it looks like it might only be three inches deep but you and your car on going to go down. Now you wanna go here or to be concerned about who's giving you the message."
As far as The Black Belt Community Foundation is concerned, they have no problem with Cosby being a spokesman of sorts. ”Dr. Cosby’s legacy transcends decades but his dedication to humanity, education, and philanthropy is an invaluable resource along with the exposure he can bring to the serious challenges affecting this region of the country,” Black Belt Community Foundation President Felecia Lucky told AL.com on Wednesday.
Although the organization has Cosby's back and the former sitcom star does have his share of high-profile defenders, he has undeniably been tarnished by the steady stream of women who have come forward to accuse him of sexual assaults spanning several decades. He currently faces a defamation suit filed by three of the over 30 women who have accused him, which has been spearheaded by attorney Gloria Allred.
In the wake of the controversy, a planned new sitcom starring Cosby has been scrapped and a planned Netflix stand-up special was shelved indefinitely. His recent "Far From Finished" stand-up comedy tour was plagued by protests and he has been widely ridiculed by some of his fellow comedians.