Even Cosby’s own admission to wrongdoing wasn’t enough for Love to backtrack when it came to his initial defense of Cosby.
“WHY YALL WORRIED ABOUT THAT BULLS— BUT NOT WORRIED ABOUT WHATS GOING ON NOW,” Love tweeted. “You people kill me with this s—! This withe [sic] boy walks into a church and kills 9 people you not mad at that, but this upsets you F— YALL.”
A Twitter user tried to point out that it was in fact possible for black people to be upset about multiple issues simultaneously.
Love wasn’t having it.
“@MissPCutie BLACK WOMEN AND BLACK CHILDREN BEEN RAPED FOR YEARS BUT THIS IS WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO F—ING TAKE TO HEART????? SLAVES,” Love responded.
“YOU MONKEY N—– LOVE YOUR MASTER AND REPEAT EVERYTHING OUT HIS MOUTH….SO PLEASE KEEP IT UP!!!! #NEWSLAVES,” he continued.
This sort of invective has been par for the course for Love when it comes to Cosby. He wasn’t the only celebrity to express doubt when it came to the accusations of Beverly Johnson, Janice Dickinson, Carla Ferrigno, Tamara Green, Barbara Bowman, Constand and others. However, last year, when Twitter users first challenged his willingness to dismiss the word of so many women with similar accounts spanning at least four decades, Love lashed out. He called them “porch monkeys” and called comedian Hannibal Buress a “house n——.” Love wasn’t just defending Cosby; he attacked those who didn’t agree with them by labeling them as race traitors, and directed a string of misogynist insults at women who confronted him on Twitter.
He posted this message to his Instagram account, with the caption “f— them lying b—-es.”
Perhaps Love was echoing the sentiment of Phylicia Rashad’s initial public comments on Cosby, albeit with just a twinge more misogyny, topped off by a heaping pile of denial.
“Forget these women,” Rashad said last year at a luncheon for “Selma.” “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.”
In a later interview with ABC News, Rashad said that she had been “misquoted,” but maintained her assertion that “this is not about the women.”
But Love and Rashad weren’t the only celebrities who publicly defended Cosby. Singer Jill Scott expressed skepticism toward the rape allegations and voiced her support for Cosby on Twitter in November. And like Love and Rashad, she argued that people should be skeptical of the rape accusations because she believed there was a larger conspiracy to destroy Cosby’s legacy and black culture at large.
This sort of thinking ends up being incredibly destructive for black rape survivors. It has a silencing effect when black women are told they shouldn’t come forward to report rape at the hands of black men because it plays into a larger betrayal. In fact, two black women who identified themselves as Cosby’s victims, Johnson and Jewel Allison, said just that. When Johnson described her experience with Cosby in an article in Vanity Fair, she wondered if she would be taken seriously or dismissed “as an angry black woman intent on ruining the image of one of the most revered men in the African American community over the last 40 years.”
Monday, Scott tweeted her dismay, acknowledging she had been wrong about Cosby because she was satisfied his testimony was “proof.”
But that wasn’t enough for many to let her off the hook, because Scott missed the larger point, which was that she reduced the accounts of 30-plus women to “hearsay.” Was she only going to believe that a woman had been raped if her accuser came forward and admitted it? When people attempted to explain that, Scott responded defensively.