Jury selection for the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby is nearly complete, but the former comedian’s defense team is not at all happy with the current makeup of that jury. Cosby’s attorneys say the exclusion of a certain black juror being considered was nothing more than racial discrimination. The defense alleges one of the prosecutors had made a “disparaging” remark about the woman before removing her from jury consideration.
While the complaint was made public, the defense refused to explain their contention in open court, though they did ask the judge in the case to consider the “remark” as evidence of prosecutorial prejudice.
Prosecutors were having none of that, pointing out that two black jurors had already been seated, and that the woman in question was excused for specific reasons that had nothing to do with race. The judge agreed with the prosecution, dismissing the defense complaint. That race is being introduced in this case adds yet another layer to the wall separating the accused rapist Bill Cosby from his time as America’s favorite sitcom father. Cosby’s turn as Cliff Huxtable on the much-beloved Cosby Show didn’t necessarily shy away from racial issues as much as, often, ignoring them completely. The Huxtable clan was well-to-do and well-educated, presented as typical upper-middle-class family. That they were black was rarely even discussed on the program.
Meanwhile, Cosby himself was not known for bringing race into his other work, even his edgier stand up. His characters and his comedy were loved by a wide cross-section of American fans, regardless of race. His fame and his brand seemed to transcend the issue that many of his contemporaries looked square in the eye. Now, though, Cosby, whose career and legacy are currently in shambles, is seeing his name associated with accusations of racism, and some beyond the defense team, are using the high profile of the case to push racial agendas on both sides of the argument. At issue is the location of the draw for the potential jury pool, a predominantly white Philadelphia suburb.
The growing argument means that the man whose work brought the country together, through a show that was the number one sitcom on television for years, is now at the heart of a cultural issue that is still pulling factions of the nation apart. When Cosby was initially accused and subsequently arrested, millions of American fans were in shock.