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New Showtime Docuseries 'We Need To Talk About Cosby' Takes On Rape Culture

Director W. Kamau Bell's new docuseries on Showtime, "We Need To Talk About Cosby," premieres on Jan. 30 and explores how Bill Cosby might've been revealing "who he may have been all along.”

By Gina Tron
Bill Cosby G

A new docuseries is taking on the Bill Cosby scandal and how his downfall affected those who grew up admiring him.

The four-part docuseries “We Need to Talk About Cosby” will premiere on Jan. 30 on Showtime, The Wrap reported last month. Standup comic and television host W. Kamau Bell is behind the upcoming series.

”I was a child of Bill Cosby [...] I’m a Black man and a comic born in the 70's,” he says in a trailer. “Bill Cosby had to be one of my heroes but this, this was f---ed up.”

“What do we do about everything we knew about Bill Cosby?” he asks. “How do we talk about Bill Cosby?”

For decades, Cosby was revered for his wholesome role as Dr. Healthcliff Huxtable in “The Cosby Show.” He was also a spokesperson for Jello and a host of “Kids Say the Darndest Things” — all of which secured his squeaky-clean dad image.

But behind the curtains, America’s Dad was allegedly a serial rapist.

In 2014, multiple women became coming forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and raping them. More than 50 women had come forward in all to claim they were victimized by him. The earliest claim stemmed from an incident in the 1960s and the most recent alleged assault happened in 2008; the allegations span 10 states and one Canadian province.

Cosby was convicted in 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in January 2004 at his home outside of Philadelphia; she reported the assault in January 2005. After the Montgomery County District Attorney refused to prosecute the comedian, she sued Cosby in March 2005 settled the case in November 2006. A newly elected district attorney announced his intention to prosecute Cosby for the crime in December 2015 before the statute of limitations expired.

After his conviction in the case, Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years; his conviction, however, was was overturned in June 2021 after Pennsylvania’s highest court said his due process rights had been violated. He was previously denied parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programs behind bars. Cosby served about two years in prison.

"We Need to Talk About Cosby" goes beyond the allegations and the headlines to explore the larger effects of the case.

“The series explores the complex story of Cosby’s life and work, weighing his actions against his indisputable global influence through interviews with comedians, cultural commentators, journalists and women who share their most personal, harrowing encounters with Cosby,” the new docuseries states. “Through archival footage, Cosby reveals who he may have been all along – the antithesis of the principled, public figure who became a hero, not only to African American people but to all people.”

The series promises that it “offers viewers the chance to reconsider his mark in a society where rape culture, toxic masculinity, capitalism and white supremacy is shaping how we re-evaluate sex, power and agency.”

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