Willfully Blind Wallflowers
In the last few years, famous guys Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, less famous guy Terry Richardson and non-famous executives like Dov Charney have all been accused of rape, and the response has been tepid. Some executives have been let go, and Charney lost his job, but only after running American Apparel into the red. Even then he was kept on as a consultant.
Discussing comedian Hannibal Buress’ accusations against Cosby at The Young Turks, Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur just shrugged and said it may be true, but it is an easy accusation to make, so it may be false. They urged us not to make assumptions either way. Then they talked about politics and started making assumptions.
In the Washington Post, Barbara Bowman observes that it wasn’t until Buress called Bill Cosby a rapist on stage that people began to pay attention, but also points out that influential men understood that no one would say anything :
For Cosby to commit these assaults against multiple victims over several years, there had to be a network of willfully blind wallflowers at best, or people willing to aid him in committing these sexual crimes at worst. As I told the Daily Mail, when I was a teenager, his assistants transported me to hotels and events to meet him. When I blacked out at Cosby’s home, there were several staffers with us. My agent, who introduced me to Cosby, had me take a pregnancy test when I returned from my last trip with him. Talent agents, hotel staff, personal assistants and others who knowingly made arrangements for Cosby’s criminal acts or overlooked them should be held equally accountable.
Compare this with the prospects of Molly Shattuck, who is accused of grooming, seducing and performing oral sex on a 15 year old boy, a friend and prep school classmate of her son. At that time she was the second, but separated, wife of Mayo Shattuck, the Executive Chairman of Exelon and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. They were divorced on Nov 3rd, 2014.
In 2005 Mrs Shattuck was celebrated as the oldest cheerleader for the Baltimore Ravens, which fits into local opinions of her being desperate for the spotlight. One of my coworkers remembers seeing her win a dance contest over Dorothy Hamill.
Down at the swim club, the local rumor mill has it that Mr Shattuck once impregnated a friend of his daughters, but bought off the parents. The rumor continues that Mrs Shattuck’s lawyers similarly tried to buy off the boy’s parents but were rebuffed – as in told to go to hell. So she’s probably going to jail.
Update 20141118: Now that another woman has come forward, Ana and Cenk are taking the Cosby accusations a bit more seriously. I am very disappointed to hear this about one of the comedy heroes of my youth, but there it is.
Update 20141120: Good piece in The Atlantic by TaNehisi Coates.
Update 20150616: Molly Shattuck pleads guilty to rape, faces up to 15 years, and must register as a sexual predator. Cosby, and the rest, are still at large.