By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
On Wednesday afternoon, a solemn faced Bill Cosby was arraigned for sexual assault charges for an incident that took place in 2004 in a Pennsylvania court house. It is only the latest in what seems to be hundreds of accusations by a seemingly endless stream of women who tell the most horrifying stories of being drugged by the former funny man and then raped. These alleged incidents, as reported on Wednesday on etonline.com, date as far back as 1965, and include accusers as young as 15 years old when the alleged misconduct took place.
Reading the time line in the ET piece, one can clearly see the pattern of improprieties continues straight through the decades, including the period in which the chairman of the Boston Red Sox, Tom Werner, was making a fortune as the executive producer of “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992. Werner, who has been reluctant to comment on the accusations, spoke only publicly once about his golden goose’s predicament in a short piece that ran in The Hollywood Reporter on July 31st last summer.
“I don’t really want to comment on it,” Werner told THR, when asked about Cosby. “The legacy of the show is obviously very important to me because the show was a groundbreaking show and it portrayed a middle-class African-American family in a very positive way. It had a lot of stories that resonated with families because people watched it together. Obviously it’s a challenging time for Bill Cosby and a challenging time for the show, but I’m hoping that people will still be able to watch the show and identify with the Huxtables.“
Really, that is it? Werner is more concerned about the legacy of the show – not to mention the hefty syndication checks that are/were associated with it – than he is about the alleged victims? Who knows what Werner knew at the time, or what he has learned since then, but it is awfully hard to keep a secret in Hollywood where gossip is as plentiful as oxygen.
The man who has longed to be the face of the franchise when it comes to the John Henry ownership group – and since he kicked former team president Larry Lucchino to Pawtucket, may just get his wish – will babble on nonsensically about baseball, but ask him a question about the man who made him hundreds of millions, and suddenly he is mute?
Instead of worrying about the legacy of his badly damaged brand, he should be denouncing the dirty, filthy POS that made him RICH and use some of that cash – and his cachet – to help victims of sexual abuse instead.
And where is the outrage in Red Sox Nation? Has the fan base become so desensitized that we just care about the product on the field and not the character of the people who run the organization?
Personally, I find it hard to believe that Werner did not know about any of the accusations before they became public within the last few years. Some of the alleged attacks involved an actress who was auditioning for the show. It seems impossible to me that the executive producer would not be involved in vetting the actors/actresses who were being considered for parts in one of the most popular television shows of all time.
Frankly, what Werner knew and when he knew it is irrelevant now. It is what he says and does regarding the monster who made him is what matters going forward.
The Sox chairman may have been a great television executive – though judging by what he has done with the programming on NESN it is hard to believe – but he runs the risk of being viewed as an awful human being if he continues to run from this awful story, that is only getting worse by the day.