It’s been a weird/bad/worsening few months for Bill Cosby. In August and September, he made a couple of cringe-worthy jibber-jabbery appearances on Fallon and Colbert that left many wondering if perhaps a Pudding Pop had melted on his motherboard.
By late October, as Cosby-talk became a thing to do again, comedian Hannibal Buress seized upon the opportunity to remind his audience (and the rest of the world, once the clip went viral) of the multiple sexual assault allegations that have been lodged by various women against Cosby over the years (13 alleged victims in total, only a few of whom have spoken publicly). And while many these accusations came to light long enough ago that they’ve since faded, Buress’s disses against Cosby’s “smuggest old black man public persona” were enough to mobilize the Twitterverse.
“Google ‘Bill Cosby’ and ‘rape,’” Buress told a Phildelphia audience. “That [expletive] has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.’”
Seemingly unaware that the Internet has been hungrily awaiting its next serving of him, Cosby (or a PR person in a proverbial Cosby suit) tweeted out a picture of himself on Monday, inviting Twitter to “Go ahead. Meme me!” The tweet has since been deleted.
This, of course — of course — led to a fantastic day on the Internet, provided you were not Bill Cosby. Despite the really very sad attempt by Team Cosby to point the memewagon in the right direction before pushing it downhill, #CosbyMeme was born a monster, and the memes, they flew.
“I’ve been accused of drugging and raping 13 women,” a smiling vintage Cosby image was captioned. Others defaulted to creative use of Cosbese. Another extended a modicum of credit to the Bill Cosby official app: “At least the app asks for consent.”
It’s hard to say if Cosby’s thumbs are the very ones behind his Twitter account. Certainly “Meme me!” seems like something my parents might tweet if they knew how to tweet. But it also lapses heavily enough into promo-garble to suggest that maybe someone else is at the controls.
If a publicity person is indeed responsible for this PR disaster (which has been summarily scrubbed from all Cosby digital surfaces), was that PR person recently kicked in the head by a horse? Or did he/she secretly have it in for Dr. Huxtable all along? Maybe they should get Guy Hanks on the case.
Until that’s settled, it’s hard to feel bad for Cosby, a man now subject to that familiar indictment so often and unfairly wielded against victims of sexual assault: He asked for it.
More from Michael Andor Brodeur:firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.