Yesterday Ebony magazine debuted the cover of its November issue. It features a picture of the Huxtables from The Cosby Show behind shattered glass, with the glass’s most prominent crack directly over Bill Cosby’s face. Naturally, this explosive cover sparked another round of conversation about “the Cosby legacy”—something The Root’s Senior Writer Kirsten West Savali examined in a piece published earlier today. And predictably, with this round of conversation came another round of “Who is to blame for ruining Cosby’s legacy?” bingo.
I usually sit that game out (I’ve never been particularly good at bingo). Today, however, I’ve decided to play. But first I want to list all the people, places and things not responsible for damaging the legacy of Bill Cosby and The Cosby Show so that when we get to the person or people actually responsible, the choice is clear.
1. Ebony magazine. This includes Ebony Editor-in-Chief Kierna Mayo, Ebony Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux and everyone else associated with the magazine.
2. The November cover of Ebony magazine.
3. The Root, The Grio, Clutch, Essence, Colorlines, VerySmartBrothas, For Harriet, Blavity and any other black-owned and/or black-managed publication that has published pieces critical of Cosby.
4. Bomani Jones, Luvvie Ajayi, Demetria Lucas-D’Oyley and anyone else with a sizable social media platform who’s been critical of Cosby.
5. The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, the New Republic, Slate, Salon, Gawker, Jezebel, Deadspin, the Huffington Post, The Nation and any other mainstream publication that has published pieces critical of Cosby.
6. CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, HLN, Fox News and any other network that has employed anchors and/or hosts critical of Cosby and has aired content critical of Cosby.
7. TV Land and any other network that has pulled The Cosby Show from its lineup.
8. Brown University, Fordham University, Marquette University and any other institution that has rescinded honorary degrees.
9. President Barack Obama, for offering a definition of rape when asked a question about Cosby’s Medal of Freedom.
10. White people. (This includes the Illuminati, by the way.)
11. Comedian Hannibal Buress, for making the Cosby joke that refreshed the memory of Cosby’s old allegations in people’s minds and led to the avalanche of allegations we’ve seen this year.
12. Gloria Allred, the attorney who’s representing many of the women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault.
13. Andrea Constand, Autumn Burns, Barbara Bowman, Beth Ferrier, Beverly Johnson, Carla Ferrigno, Charlotte Fox, Chelan Lasha, Chloe Goins, Cindra Ladd, Colleen Hughes, Donna Motsinger, Eden Tirl, Heidi Thomas, Helen Gumpel, Helen Hayes, Janice Baker-Kinney, Janice Dickinson, Jewel Allison, Joan Tarshis and the rest of the 50-plus women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault.
14. The other women who also have stories about Cosby’s sexual misdeeds but have either shared those stories privately or have chosen not to share at all.
15. The people on your Facebook feed and Twitter timelines and in your barbershops and hair salons and break rooms and families who have been critical of Cosby.
So, now that that’s clear, let’s finally see who is actually responsible for damaging the legacy of Bill Cosby and The Cosby Show.
1. Bill Cosby.
Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VerySmartBrothas.com. He is also a contributing editor at Ebony.com. He lives in Pittsburgh and he really likes pancakes. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.