4/5 Star – The Telegraph‘s Fall of an American Icon Review
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
[From The Telegraph (Reproduced Below)]
Bill Cosby: Fall of an American idol is a high-impact platform for the accusers to be heard – review
Sometimes what’s important is that your voice is heard. That was certainly the case with many of the women featured in Bill Cosby: Fall of an American Icon (BBC Two), a high-impact report aired on the opening day of the trial in Pennsylvania of Bill Cosby, one of the America’s best-loved TV personalities, for aggravated sexual assault.
Here in Britain (though we’ve had more than our share of seeing how fame and a powerful media presence can be used to conceal predatory sexual behaviour) it is hard to fully appreciate the shock this has been met with across the Atlantic. Cosby’s long-running Eighties sitcom The Cosby Show was not only a global success but, in its depiction of a black middle-class family as the norm, it offered to many a comforting sense of putting the US’s racial divisions behind them. As the head of that family, Cosby was for many Americans the ideal dad.
Now, they’re being forced to come to terms with the possibility that ever since finding fame in the Sixties, Cosby may have been a serial sexual criminal, drugging and raping large numbers of victims. Since 2014, more than 50 women have come forward with remarkably similar accusations. There are similarities apparently supported by sworn evidence of Cosby’s that his legal team had been forced to reveal.
In terms of outlining the background and hearing from many of those involved, this was an exemplary report, even if for something shown on the opening day of a trial, there was rather too much of the done deal about it. It was as if Cosby’s guilt was something that might safely be assumed. Still, many of his accusers point out that, as they’ll never get their day in court, the media is their only recourse. And by that admittedly dubious standard of justice, the words of actor Whoopi Goldberg – initially at least a defender of Cosby’s right to a fair trial – were among the most resonant: “If this is to be tried in the court of public opinion, I got to say all of the information that’s out there kind of points to guilt.”