Add Bill Cosby’s TV son Malcolm-Jamal Warner to his list of defenders.
Warner, who played Theo Huxtable for eight years on The Cosby Show in the 1980s, was careful not to criticize the two-dozen women who have recently publicly accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them decades ago.
But he told Billboard he can’t help but view Cosby through the prism of what he’s done for him personally and for African Americans in general.
“He’s one of my mentors, and he’s been very influential and played a big role in my life as a friend and mentor,” Warner said.
“Just as it’s painful to hear any woman talk about sexual assault, whether true or not, it’s just as painful to watch my friend and mentor go through this.”
He said he could not comment on the allegations because he wasn’t there.
“The Bill Cosby I know has been great to me and great for a lot of people,” he said. “What he’s done for comedy and television has been legendary and history-making.
“What he’s done for the black community and education has been invaluable. That’s the Bill Cosby I know. I can’t speak on the other stuff.”
Warner, now 44, is an actor, director and musician. He spoke to Billboard because he just received his first Grammy nomination for best traditional R&B performance, and has a new album of jazz and R&B-inflected spoken word coming.
But he’s not the only Cosby cast member to speak out in recent weeks.
Phylicia Rashad, who played wife and mother Claire Huxtable, has praised Cosby, as did Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played one of the daughters, and Vivica A. Fox, who sometimes appeared on the show.
Rashad took the most heat for her comments, which she said were misquoted.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Maria Puente