Twenty women allege that Bill Cosby raped or otherwise sexually assaulted them, often drugging them first. Taking his side is his friend, Whoopi Goldberg. A few weeks ago, Cosby thanked her publicly.
Cosby’s tweet came in response to remarks made by Goldberg on the November 17 episode of “The View.” Speaking about Barbara Bowman, one of the first to accuse Cosby, Goldberg wanted to know why she didn’t avail herself of a rape kit, or seek medical help. Then she addressed other charges against him. “No one has met these other women as of yet. And quite honestly you know, look, having been on both sides where people allege that you do something, it doesn’t matter now. The cat is out of the bag, people have it in their head….”
Then the question of settlements was raised. “Settlements don’t necessarily mean you’re guilty,” she said. “You generally settle because you just don’t want to put your family through it again….”
When Rosie O’Donnell said it is difficult to discuss an accusation made against a friend, Goldberg answered rhetorically (though it is obvious she had Cosby in mind). “Well,” she replied, “you say listen this is a friend of mine and I don’t know. This is not the person I know, but we’ll wait and find out what happens.”
Goldberg’s reaction is at least defensible. When serious accusations are made, serious evidence should be offered; settlements are indeed a common way for innocent people to move on; and when an accusation doesn’t fit the profile of a personal friend, doubt lingers.
The problem Bill Donohue has with Goldberg is her duplicity: when sexual abuse allegations are made against priests, she reflexively assumes they are true. But we know for a fact that is simply not the case. Priests deserve better, from Whoopi, and from many others.