A direct reference to the sexual misconduct allegations against comedian Bill Cosby and acknowledgement that they have “severely damaged his reputation” have been added to the entertainment gallery of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The museum, opening Sept. 24, came under fire last spring for its decision to include Cosby in its entertainment exhibition without noting that more than 50 women have accused him of rape, sexual assault or sexual harassment. He is expected to be tried next June for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University women’s basketball official in 2004.
Museum officials quickly reversed that decision.
Two items related to Cosby are among 150 pieces on display in the fourth floor “Taking the Stage” exhibition. Near a comic book from the early Cosby vehicle “I, Spy” and the cover of Cosby’s 1964 album “I Started Out as a Child,” the 100-word wall text ends with this sentence: “In recent years, revelations about sexual misconduct have cast a shadow over Cosby’s entertainment career and severely damaged his reputation.”
In March, the museum’s founding director, Lonnie Bunch, pushed back against calls for Cosby to be removed from the exhibition and said the museum would acknowledge his legal problems.
“Visitors will leave the exhibition knowing more about Mr. Cosby’s impact on American entertainment, while recognizing that his legacy has been severely damaged by the recent accusations,” founding director Lonnie Bunch said in a March statement. “This is not an exhibition that ‘honors or celebrates’ Bill Cosby but one that acknowledges his role, among many others, in American entertainment.”
Here is the entire description:
While many comedians mined laughter by probing racial and political difference, Bill Cosby (b. 1937) built his groundbreaking career around universal themes of family and childhood. His award-winning comedy albums included I Started Out as a Child (1964) and To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With (1968) and featured rollicking tales about growing up in inner-city Philadelphia. These stand-up routines became the inspiration for the animated children’s series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (CBS 1972-84). In recent years, revelations about sexual misconduct have cast a shadow over Cosby’s entertainment career and severely damaged his reputation.
SOURCE: Peggy McGlone
The Washington Post