Camille Cosby, the wife of Bill Cosby, issued a statement on Monday in which she took issue with the way that the media has covered accusations against her husband, even comparing it to the now-questioned Rolling Stone expose of rape allegations at the University of Virginia.
“A different man has been portrayed in the media over the last two months,” Cosby said in her statement. “It is the portrait of a man I do not know. It is also a portrait painted by individuals and organizations whom many in the media have given a pass. There appears to be no vetting of my husband’s accusers before stories are published or aired. An accusation is published, and immediately goes viral.”
Camille Cosby’s decision to issue a statement nearly a month after the allegations of sexual assault reached the crisis point for her husband raises the question of whether Bill Cosby’s legal team is in the process of mounting a broader defense to the allegations of sexual assault and drugging incidents recounted by two dozen women, some dating back more than 40 years.
Speculation about a heightened damage-control campaign was also fueled by the statement released Monday from Cosby lawyer John P. Schmitt about the comedian’s telephone contact with freelance journalist Stacy Brown that led to a New York Post story on Saturday. Cosby’s assertion that African-American media would give his story an unbiased hearing and that his wife’s love and “womanhood” was helping him get through the scandal were widely reported by other news outlets.
Schmitt’s statement claimed that Brown did not tell Cosby he was interviewing him for the publication, and, more seriously, did not inform Cosby that the brief conversation was being recorded — which illegal in some states although not in New York, where Cosby lives (although it’s not clear where he was at the time of the call. Brown made the media rounds with the interview during the weekend.
“In a discussion of journalistic standards, Mr. Brown failed to adhere to the most basic standards of his profession,” Schmitt said.
Brown defended his actions in an interview Monday with USA Today: “I’m not going to argue with him or the statement. But the call was so brief. It was two minutes. It just wasn’t a thing where I could say at the end, ‘Is this something you mind if I share?’ “
Meanwhile, Camille Cosby’s statement also comes on the same day that Spelman College in Atlanta moved to distance itself from Cosby, who has donated more than $20 million to the historically black college over the years.
Camille Cosby cited the coverage of the allegations of rape at the University of Virginia recounted in Rolling Stone. The magazine later issued a clarification, saying that there were “discrepancies” in the accuser’s account and that the story was still being investigated.”
“The story was heartbreaking, but ultimately appears to be untrue,” Camille Cosby wrote. “Many in the media were quick to link that story to stories about my husband — until that story unwound.
“None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim. But the question should be asked — who is the victim?”
The Cosbys met in 1963 and were married in 1964. “The man I met, and fell in love with, and whom I continue to love, is the man you all know through his work,” Cosby said. “He is a kind man, a generous man, a funny man, and a wonderful husband, father and friend. He is the man you thought you knew.”
The cascade of allegations against Cosby has cost the veteran entertainer his deal with NBC to develop a new sitcom, a Netflix standup comedy special and even the availability of reruns of his 1980s hit “The Cosby Show.” He resigned his seat on the board of Temple University under pressure, among other professional costs.
Model and actress Beverly Johnson was the latest to come forward with a disturbing allegations of having been drugged by Cosby while ostensibly auditioning for a part on “The Cosby Show” in 1986.
Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.