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The ‘death’ of Bill Cosby

The 'death' of Bill Cosby
The 'death' of Bill Cosby
The ‘death’ of Bill Cosby


The accusations of rape by multiple women against Bill Cosby are not just bringing down his career with cancellations of shows, reruns and future projects – they have succeeded in ‘killing’ Bill Cosby for his millions of fans.

When we are faced with the stark claims that a warm, beloved TV star isn’t whom we believed him to be, we undergo our own pain – our image, emotional association and attachment to Bill Cosby are now shattered by the accusations and potential revelations that he is a rapist. In other words, the rape claims have destroyed our fond memories and affectionate associations. It is called Cognitive Dissonance – the struggle we face when there are two conflicting thoughts in our mind – in this case, the cuddly, gentle father figure of Bill Cosby clashing with the information that relays an image of a monster and rapist. We cannot hold two conflicting thoughts at the same time – we must abandon our image of the nice, loving man. And what happens to our numerous memories of Bill Cosby – of joy, laughter, warmth and guidance? They die. Fans can and will eventually speak of feeling duped, brainwashed and fooled by Bill Cosby ‘he isn’t who he pretended to be.’

Bill Cosby doesn’t need to be convicted by a jury in a court – the shocking claims by numerous women is enough to create doubt and eventually shatter all of our great memories. And quite sadly, more and more allegations are surfacing – including Therese Serignese who now claims she was raped in 1976, yet she says she willingly went back to his Las Vegas penthouse suite and stayed with him for several weeks and she adds they stayed in contact over the years; he helped her financially decades later giving her a gift of $15,000 for medical expenses. This behavior by Therese Serignese which, appears to be absurd and ‘unbelievable’, can be attributed to naivete, psychological manipulation and a teenage desire for fame, fortune and glamour.

All of these allegations will ultimately destroy any tender and beautiful memories fans have of Bill Cosby; once the amorous memories and emotions are gone, Bill Cosby dies with them. We can argue that Bill Cosby did it, but he also created the TV character Cliff Huxtable that we all fell in love with.

Therese Serignese: "Bill Cosby raped me"
Therese Serignese: “Bill Cosby raped me”

Extra Taking points

  • Why some fans defend him while others convict
  • How and why we connect so deeply with TV actors and celebrities
  • The grieving process (fans grieve when a celebrity or idol ‘dies’)
  • Misogyny and reasons why these women waited 3 decades (career opportunities over justice)
  • Understanding why a powerful man and celebrity might rape a woman in this way
  • Cee Lo Green drugged his date with Molly
  • Separating art from the artist “worship the art, the product, not the artist”

Patrick Wanis PhD Human Behavior Expert

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