Bill Cosby's biography, "Cosby: His Life and Times," by Mark Whitaker, which came out in September, tells not only of Cosby's rise to stardom but also of darker tales about his rough-and-tumble childhood. The so-called definitive biography, however, makes no mention of any of the 13-plus sexual assaults that Cosby has been accused of over the years, including one by Andrea Constand in 2004 that was settled out of court in 2006.
Unlike the NBC and Netflix shows that were in development to star Cosby but now have been shelved indefinitely, "Cosby: His Life and Times" is already out -- in hardcover. Publisher Simon & Schuster and Whitaker have an opportunity to address these allegations in the paperback edition, but it's unclear whether any changes will be made. Requests for comment from both the author and the publisher went unanswered.
"It's common for a publisher to make alterations to a paperback release," said Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary, "but it's usually in the form of supplmentary material, rather than additional chapters or alterations to the piece itself. I don't believe Simon & Schuster would make significant changes to reprint editions of the book -- nor should anyone be contractually obligated to -- but it is their choice in the end how to handle their now tainted product."
Hours after former supermodel Janice Dickinson alleged during an interview on "Entertainment Tonight" Tuesday that Bill Cosby drugged and raped her in 1982, Netflix announced it was postponing a Cosby comedy special it had slated for Nov. 27. The Netflix announcement did not provide a reason or a future date for the special. And no announcements have been made by NBC about the future of a sitcom that was in development and was to star the legendary comedian.
“I was aware of the allegations," Whitaker said when asked about the omission in the 486-page biography, "but ultimately decided not to include them in my book. I didn’t want to print allegations that I couldn’t confirm independently… there were no independent witnesses and no definitive court findings, which did not meet my journalistic or legal standard for including in the biography.”
Although there were no "definitive court findings," there is the court of public opinion in the form of Cosby rape memes and reviewers of the book on Amazon.
"Where are the 13 rape chapters?" one reviewer on Amazon asked. "Remember kids: You can rape more than a dozen women for forty years and nobody will believe them if you're rich and famous. Now ain't that the darndest thing! Za-POW!" wrote another. "Does not mention that 13 women accused him of rape and he settled out of court in 2006," wrote yet another reviewer. "Two women came forward after the statue of limitations was over and made accusations. Not mentioned in the book. Not one little bit. Didn't even happen, 'parently."
These reviewer comments were made in November, after the allegations against Cosby, which had been swirling around him for decades, finally went viral in October when comedian Hannibal Buress called out Cosby as a rapist in a standup routine. But even one early reviewer in September sensed that the book holds back on Cosby's sexual history: "The author seems to present a fairly objective view of the man, even though I felt he tread carefully while lightly skimming Cosby's womanizing years."