Damon Wayans is feeling the ire of social media after characterizing the approximately 50 women who have accused Bill Cosby of rape as greedy, money-hustling bitches.
The comedian made the offensive comments during an interview with Power 105.1's Breakfast Club on Friday morning and has taken to Twitter to defend himself against the subsequent backlash:
Stop twisting my words. Watch the entire interview before u condemn me! http://t.co/yQqPMB23kL — Damon Wayans (@DamonkWayans) September 6, 2015
However, if the full remarks are contained in the above 30-minute clip posted by Power 105.1 on Friday, then the stand-alone quotes Wayans is complaining about become more disturbing, not less, because you can see every dismissive smirk, every crinkle in his eyes when he calls the alleged victims "bitches," and every nod of encouragement from male co-host Charlamagne Tha God. You can see all of that. And if you're a rape survivor or if you stand in support of rape survivors, it will make you feel sick.
The comments begin at the 26-minute mark, when co-host Angela Yee asks Wayans what advice he has for Cosby. As a refresher, here is Cosby's position: Andrea Constand brought forward allegations of sexual abuse in 2002 and filed a lawsuit in 2005 in which 13 other women were listed as having been alleged victims.
Cosby settled with Constand in 2006, by which time a few of the Jane Does had come forward to make their stories public. Though several journalists and women wondered, every few years, how Bill Cosby still had a career, frustratingly enough, it was a comedy bit by Hannibal Buress that led to Cosby's downfall last year. Since then, dozens of alleged victims have come forward with their stories.
These women, most of whom were in their 20s during the alleged incidents, have similar stories: They were starting out in their careers and found themselves betrayed by a man they trusted as a mentor. In excerpts from previously unsealed depositions, Cosby admitted to drugging a woman he wanted to have sex with by giving her Quaaludes, and other extremely predatory behavior. Cosby has never been charged with anything, and the statute of limitations on these cases have expired. Cosby will likely be deposed in the next month for another civil suit by Judith Huth, who alleges Cosby assaulted her in 1974 when she was 15.
These are the facts, and based on this interview, it seems that Wayans is familiar with at least a few of them. Still, he began his response mocking the alleged victims with a gross Quaaludes joke: "If I was him, I would divorce my wife — wink wink — give her all my money, then I would go do a deposition, light one of them three-hour cigars, have me some wine, and maybe a Quaalude, and I would just go off. Because I don't believe that he was raping. I think he was in relationships with all of them. And then he was like, it's 78, I can't get it up for any of y'all. Bye bitches. And they're like, 'Oh really? Rape.'"
News flash: A relationship is not a trump card that vetoes a woman's power to say no to a sexual advance. Even spousal rape happens, and it is illegal in all 50 states. That Wayans believes rape doesn't happen in relationships is scary and reveals how painfully ignorant he is about sexual assault.
Then, as if rape were a precious jewel men bestowed upon only the prettiest of princesses, he says, "And some of them, really, is un-rapeable. I look at them and I go, 'No, you don't want that. Get out of here. Get up, get out of here.'" Again, Wayans remains blissfully naive about the reality of rape: That rape is not a backhanded compliment. That rape is about power and control. That it is about entitlement. That 1 in 5 women are victims of sexual assault. That false accusations are remarkably rare. That, despite all this, we have a culture that enables rapists instead of empowering victims.
His lack of understanding about rape seems directly related to his depressingly shallow view of women, which is that they're all liars who are willing to sink to any level for fame, money, and sex. "Look, I understand fame. I've lived it. Women will throw themselves at you. They just want to be in your presence," he said, before suggesting that any woman who spent time with Cosby must have wanted his sexual advances. "There's some that innocently will come up there, but not 40-something women. They're not that naive."
Wayans then erases women from the narrative that they themselves put forward, and describing these "bitches" as vultures waiting to pick on the entrails of Cosby's career after men — notably Buress — decided that Cosby was no longer an ally. "You know what Bill Cosby did wrong? He started criticizing young black men. And then he lost us, and so we're not supporting him, and they see that opening, and so now, you know what? Attack him, kill him."
Wayans talks about women as if they exist only in orbits around men, not on their own. If they're not potential sexual partners or targets — most of whom, remember, are potential "bitches" not to be trusted — then they are family members, in which case they are suddenly 100 percent credible. "If it was my daughter, then I would have killed Bill Cosby," he admitted. "But being just, sitting back, looking at it, I don't believe this. I think it's a money hustle."
Kate Harding, author of Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture — and What We Can Do About It recently described this exact logic as perpetuating rape culture. "So whenever a celebrity is accused of rape, the immediate thought is that the woman is looking for a payday. Sure, settlements do happen, but it's absurd to think that this is a good get-rich-quick scheme: to have sex with a celebrity, and then wake up the next morning and say, 'It was rape!'" she told Rolling Stone recently. "You're going to have everyone calling you a slut and a gold digger, and risk being prosecuted for making false statements to the police, but you'll go through all that to take a shot at getting money through a lawsuit? That's insane. It's not something people do, and it reveals such a bleak view of women."
"The relentless interrogation of every woman who reports a rape is premised on the idea that any one of us could be that manipulative and evil," she continued. "We're so unwilling to believe that any man could be a rapist, but any woman for sure could be a vengeful, horrible beast."
That's certainly the view Wayans promotes in his interview, which he insists was taken out of context and chopped up for salacious sound bytes. The only apology he extends to the alleged victims is an empty statement, as he has not backed it up with any empathy or compassion. "For anybody who got raped by Bill Cosby, I'm sorry and I hope you get justice," he says toward the end of the interview. He immediately turns the conversation back to the true enemy — "you other bitches," insisting that the Quaaludes Cosby gave to at least one alleged victim is what "people do that to get in the mood."
Damon Wayans's Disgusting Comments About Rape Show an Awful Disregard for Women Prachi Gupta SEP 8, 2015
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