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5 Honors Bill Cosby Has Been Stripped Of (So Far)
Cosby’s legacy has taken a huge hit following his recent convictions, and the list of rescinded and revoked honors just keeps getting longer.
It may be time for Bill Cosby to wave goodbye not only to his career, but to his legacy as well.
The 80-year-old actor/comedian was found guilty on April 26 of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004, after being accused of sexual misconduct by more than 50 women in recent years, Oxygen reports. The man formerly known as “America’s dad” is currently on house arrest awaiting sentencing. Cosby’s convictions, which include penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant, are each punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to NBC News.
In a three-page statement released after the guilty verdict, Camille Cosby — Bill Cosby’s wife of 54 years — defended her husband, comparing his treatment to the tragic 1955 lynching of Emmett Till and calling his conviction “mob justice.”
“Once again, an innocent person has been found guilty based on an unthinking, unquestioning, unconstitutional frenzy propagated by the media and allowed to play out in a supposed court of law,” she wrote. “This is mob justice, not real justice. This tragedy must be undone not just for Bill Cosby, but for the country.”
Cosby’s legal team has said that they will appeal the decision. In the meantime, however? Cosby’s legacy is being dismantled, one award at a time. Here are some of the notable achievements that he’s already been stripped of.
1. Academy Awards Membership
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski from its membership last week, Entertainment Weekly reports. The board of governors voted on May 1 to oust both Cosby and Polanski, the latter of whom became a fugitive from justice when he fled the country in 1978 after pleading guilty to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.
“The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” the academy wrote in a statement announcing their decision.
2. Kennedy Center Honors and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
In 1998, Cosby received the Kennedy Center Honors, and he was the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor more than a decade later, in 2009. The Kennedy Center rescinded both awards on Tuesday, Variety reports.
A center spokesperson wrote in a statement, “The Honors and Mark Twain Prize are given to artists who, through their lifetime of work, have left an indelible impact on American culture. As a result of Mr. Cosby’s recent criminal conviction, the Board concluded that his actions have overshadowed the very career accomplishments these distinctions from the Kennedy Center intend to recognize.”
3. Television Academy’s Hall of Fame
After being inducted in 1992, the disgraced comedian’s name and statue were removed from the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame last week, Deadline reports. A bust of Cosby was removed from the Academy’s outdoor Hall of Fame Plaza in California during renovations, along with many others, but while there formerly were plans to rotate busts of Hall of Fame inductees between storage spaces and the courtyard, Cosby’s statue will not be included in that rotation.
“We have no plans to place Mr. Cosby’s bust in the courtyard,” a spokesperson for the Academy told Deadline. Similarly, all references to Cosby have been removed from the Academy’s website.
4. Honorary Degrees
Cosby has been stripped of a slew of honorary degrees leading up to, and following, his guilty verdict. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Cincinnati in 2001 as the speaker at UC's graduation ceremony that year, but the university rescinded Cosby’s degree on Tuesday, Cincinnati reports. Out of the 609 honorary diplomas the university has awarded in its history, Cosby’s is the first to have been revoked.
A week before, Cosby was stripped of his honorary degree from Yale, an honor he was awarded in 2003, NPR reports. Such an act was also a first for this university as well. A spokesperson for the school explained in a statement, “The decision is based on a court record providing clear and convincing evidence of conduct that violates fundamental standards of decency shared by all members of the Yale community, conduct that was unknown to the board at the time the degree was awarded.”
In April, Temple University — Cosby’s alma mater — rescinded the honorary degree they awarded to Cosby in 1991, Billboard reports. Cosby formerly served on the university’s Board of Trustees for decades before resigning in 2014. Constand, the woman Cosby was convicted of drugging and assaulting, was a Temple University employee.
More than 20 universities have rescinded honorary degrees awarded to Cosby prior to his conviction, The Associated Press reports, with a number of universities, like Johns Hopkins University and Carnegie Mellon University, following suit after the guilty verdict was read.
Following Cosby’s guilty verdict, a community center in East Baltimore removed the names of Bill and Camille Cosby from their building last month, the Baltimore Sun reports. The center, run by St. Frances Academy, had been known as the Drs. Camille and Bill Cosby Community Center since 2012, when the couple donated $2 million to the center. St. Frances principal Curtis Turner said that leadership was unaware of the allegations surrounding Cosby when they named the building after the he and his wife in 2012. Officials considered stripping the name from the building in 2015, after accusations began to gain traction, but ultimately decided against it, the Sun reports.
“The main reason why we didn’t take down the name in 2015, when the accusations came out, was because our main relationship was with Camille Cosby and not her husband,” Turner explained, adding that “now there is an actual conviction, we just cannot have his name on the building.”
Central State University, a historically black college in Wilberforce, Ohio, removed Cosby’s name from their communications building in 2015, according to The Wrap. What was formerly known as the Camille O. and William H. Cosby Mass Communication Center was renamed as the CSU Mass Communication Center, after school officials had Cosby’s name temporarily covered up while they deliberated, according to the Associated Press. Central State President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond called the allegations surrounding Cosby, who has donated over $2 million to the school, “troublesome and disappointing to all.”
(Photo: Bill Cosby walks after it was announced a verdict is in at the Montgomery County Courthouse for day fourteen of his sexual assault retrial on April 26, 2018 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. By Mark Makela/Getty Images)