Bill Cosby refused to speak during a radio interview on on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday when the host asked him about rape allegations which have been made against him. The audio of the interview has gone viral and the tense silence has become a topic of intense discussion.
The 77-year-old comedy legend has not lately been known for his trailblazing legacy but instead for allegations of rape which have resurfaced. Barbara Bowman, one of his alleged victims, has spoken out in an interview with the UK Daily Mail and later penned an essay for the Washington Post.
And these allegations dogged him during his joint interview with his wife Camille Cosby, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. While host Scott Simon dutifully asked the couple to speak about their impressive loan of 62 works of African art — for an exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC — he also asked the burning question of the day.
Simon began by saying, “This question gives me no pleasure Mr Cosby, but there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days.”
Simon continued, saying, “‘I’m in the news business. I have to ask the question. Do you have any response to those charges?”
Radio silence. Literally. Radio silence. You can “hear” it in the audio below.
Instead of speaking, Cosby shook his head.
We know this because Simon responded saying, “Shaking your head no. There are people who love you who might like to hear from you about this. I want to give you the chance.”
Cosby did not avail himself of the opportunity.
Yes, as Scott Simon so delicately put it, Bill Cosby has been in the news “in recent days” for “serious allegations.” He has not been making headlines for his generosity as a patron of the arts. Just days before the interview, “artwork” of a different sort in social media was again hammering him over these accusations. His social media “Meme me” campaign did not go well, as more than a few took the opportunity to confront the comedian and television icon over these allegations.
While the allegations date back many years, the attention to them is new. It was sparked by a standup comedy routine by Saturday Night Live writer Hannibal Buress who called Cosby a rapist and the video of the performance went viral online. This emboldened Barbara Bowman to come forward even as she pointed out that it took a male comedian’s rant for the public to finally pay attention to what she and others have long said.
The timing of Bill Cosby’s NPR radio interview — and his astounding silence — has also brought even more attention to the story, as it took place a day after he cancelled a scheduled appearance on ‘Late Show with David Letterman.’ And prior to that, he had cancelled an appearance on ‘The Queen Latifah Show.’
The story is still unfolding. But for now, you can listen to the full radio interview below. The questions about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby begin at the 3:35 mark.