Insert Foot: Bill Cosby has his freedom on Independence Day, but should anyone buy tickets?

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby speaks to reporters outside of his home in Cheltenham, Pennsylvaniaon June 30, 2021. Cosby was released from prison after court overturned his sex assault conviction. Photo by Michael Abbott/Getty Images.

On Independence Day, it’s always fascinating to examine who really has it. Bill Cosby has his independence today.


Rendering: Adam Pardee/STAFF.

Cosby has his freedom and allegedly wants to return to performing. Why not? Sixty women can’t all be right?

That means the 26 who accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct must be wrong, too. Even after our former glorious, ham-stained leader admitted to just going up to them and grabbing them by their vaginas. (Sorry, I’m still not over it. Nor am I over it being OK with half the country. Because it still shouldn’t be).

Like Trump, Cosby admitted to a degree of sexual assault, during that notorious deposition for a civil suit back in 2005. He confessed to slipping quaaludes to his victim to make her susceptible to sex. That admission was negotiated into a deal that, three years after Cosby went to prison, sprung him this week.

By the way, quaaludes are so harmful they stopped making them in 1985.

Now Cosby wants to go back and perform stand-up comedy. Because what the hell isn’t funny about that? Joke’s on all those women. Trump just started public appearances again too, and a huge chunk of this country’s leadership still bends the knee.

The only thing I can figure is that so many are OK with Cosby simply because those victims weren’t them. Not being OK might mean having to examine our own behavior.

Have you ever stopped to count how many people you know who admit to being sexually assaulted? Then multiple that by 10 or 20 or 50, which is likely the real number.

On this Fourth of July, I’m thinking about a friend who was brutalized as a child on a holiday. Every year since–every single miserable, awful year–while the rest of us run around slurping alcohol and acting like rabid animals, she does everything she can to avoid going absolutely insane with the memories of what someone did to her.

What do you do for someone you care about who suffers through that for decades? Buy them a card? They don’t have cards at Hallmark that say “Thinking of you today on the anniversary of your lifelong nightmare. Have a great day!”

Of course, you listen if they want you to. Otherwise … that anyone is OK with any of this is … just … insane.

I’m not arguing that Bill Cosby shouldn’t be released or not released, because I’m not a lawyer. I am arguing, however, that we should live in a society in which a man convicted of sexual assault more than 60 times should know his only choice at 83 years old is to thankfully spend the rest of his life hiding out as comfortably as he can.

Or not. He can wake up every morning and light himself on fire. I don’t care.

Because I’m so patriotic (bored), I spent good portion of the last few days watching the sometimes-amazing Laura Linney play Abigail Adams on HBO’s 2008 miniseries “John Adams.” At one point, after watching her delve out another heaping sack of wisdom at her husband and future president for about the 350th time, it made me remember something incredible: She couldn’t even vote for him.

Women have only been allowed to vote since 1920. If that sounds like ancient history, consider that we couldn’t ratify an equal rights amendment during my lifetime. There are still people walking around this Fourth of July who were alive before women could vote.

If a rapist can find a paying audience in 2021, we still have a lot of work to do.

Follow music critic Tony Hicks at

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