Bill Cosby is used to people being around him.
For most of his life, he has been a mega star. Because of the incomprehensible strides he made for Black people in entertainment during the 60’s and 70’s, he has meant a lot to folk. We loved him. We still love him (even as we deplore his actions). He was America’s dad. And Bill Cosby was not America’s dad because white people said he was, he earned that spot in our cultural hearts by representing an ideal of prosperity, accountability and family life that we have always wanted to be associated with this country. Great job. Great wife. Great education. Great kids. His TV life seemed to be a projection of his personal life. That is what he wanted us to see and that is want we saw.
However, over the last few years, we have been privy to see this dirty and ugly side of Dr. Cosby. Bill was not Cliff. Bill (we have come to know) is… still can’t seem to bring myself to say it… a predator. A sinister abuser that used his celebrity and access to drug and rape women. And it was just that that he was convicted for.
Earlier this week, Dr. Cosby was sentenced to three to five years in prison for drugging and molesting a woman. Almost 14 years after he gave Andrea Constand pills, the 81-year-old was found guilty by a jury of his peers last April for sexually violating the former Temple University employee, in his Philadelphia home in 2004. He was also convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
Immediately after being convicted, he was whisked off to the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution Phoenix. He has a mug shot. He has a prison uniform and boots, and his inmate number NN7687. The fallen hero, who used to have words about the Hip-Hop community looking and acting like criminals, will have a hard time adjusting to the stripped down cageyness of prison. Most of all, he will struggle with the next couple of weeks of solitude.
Cosby has to complete the standard battery of psychological and medical exams for new inmates and sex offenders. For up to at max 10 days, he will be engaged in a process called “classification.” According to officials, Inmate Cosby’s celebrity and his various health challenges may extend this process longer than the average inmate. Until he is “classified,” he will not be able to have visitation from his family members, take classes or get a job or enjoy some of the other things that will make the life there bearable. As of right now, during this time, he has no roommate.
According to MSN, administrators decided out of caution to isolate him from general population for the time being. Inmate Cosby eats all his meals by himself (though they offered him some, he did not eat the jello that they had on the menu), spends his yard time by himself and even comes out the door of his cell for count, by himself. What a mighty fall for someone that has been in the limelight for over half a century!
His family is understandably upset. Not only are they dealing with their patriarch’s incarceration, no one knew that they would be locking him up so swiftly.
Cosby’s publicist told the New York Times that “no one disclosed to us that they were taking him to that facility.” In an act to preserve some of his dignity and for the safety of the old and almost blind man, his lawyers worked to convince a judge that keeping him on house arrest instead of jail while he appeals his sentence is the best option. But that request was rejected. Though the team wants to also get him in a “Florida” jail (a slang name made popular in the current season of Orange Is The New Black for jail for seniors), there are no plans for his transfer.
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