Bill Cosby is once again speaking out from prison in honor of a special occasion. Last September, he was sentenced to three to 10 years for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand, and has been in general population at a prison in Skippack Township, Pa. since January.
After using social media to share birthday wishes for wife Camille in March, the 81-year-old comedian, actor and current inmate is back with a Father’s Day message.
Cosby referenced two of his most significant roles — Fat Albert and Cosby Show patriarch Cliff Huxtable — in the post shared on Sunday.
After quoting his famous Fat Albert line, Cosby calls himself “America’s dad” in the post, which includes a vintage clip of him speaking out against the country’s history of separating black families through racism and slavery. Cosby has reportedly not seen his wife or their three surviving daughters (son Ennis was killed in 1997, while daughter Ensa died of renal disease in 2018) since he entered prison, according to spokesman Andrew Wyatt.
“It’s an honor to be called a father, so let’s make today a renewed oath to fulfilling our purpose — strengthening our families and communities,” he continued.
The post was shared on Cosby’s behalf by Wyatt, the spokesman explained to USA Today, in order to express support for the group Man Up.
"Mr. Cosby’s (message) consisted of telling these men who have been incarcerated for many years, but are up for parole soon ... to ... take the word ‘disadvantage’ and remove the ‘dis’ and start focusing on the advantage," Wyatt said. "That advantage is to be better fathers and productive citizens."
The post — which comes a few months after the star called himself a “political prisoner” like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. — has drawn wildly mixed reactions. Despite his conviction, Cosby continues to have supporters who wished him a happy Father’s Day and shared #FreeBillCosby messages.
”Call me if you need something, we’ll get you back on your feet Bill!!! Respect!!!” wrote one fan.
”I am as devastated by your loss of freedom today as I was on the day of your false imprisonment,” read another comment. “You are a standard of a role model by your work in all media, by your contribution to education and civil rights and by your parental role as a father. Praying you will receive justice at last with your coming appeal.”
Those reactions sparked outcry from commenters who cited the Constand case as well as the dozens of other women who have accused the comedy legend of sexual assault and misconduct.
“Y’all really like this man?” a critic wrote. “I understand he was a part of your childhood but I mean come on man?! Really? All because he was in your life doesn’t mean he’s good. Y’all deluded as hell.”
”OMG, what's wrong with most of you people, he's a serial rapist,” another commenter wrote.
Please stop.— David Simon (@AoDespair) June 17, 2019
Some also drew comparisons to O.J. Simpson joining Twitter last week.
Bill Cosby & OJ Simpson both are active on Twitter now... if there was ever a time for the Boondocks to give us a new season, it’s now.— EE »dead« (@ThePhenomenalEE) June 17, 2019
Bill Cosby, O.J. Simpson and Trump all tweeting on the same day.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) June 17, 2019
Computer: end simulation.
I beg you.
OJ: “I got some getting even to do”...— 😏 (@SportsRhetorik) June 17, 2019
Bill Cosby: “Happy Fathers Day”...
OJ Simpson joined twitter— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) June 17, 2019
Bill Cosby: Hold my laced beer https://t.co/q4GoK7qpZ4
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