Adding controversy to controversy. The conversation got heated on The View on Thursday, Nov. 20, when panelists Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O'Donnell, Rosie Perez, and Nicolle Wallace discussed the ongoing Bill Cosby scandal as a part of the Hot Topics segment.
Goldberg, 59, introduced the topic, showing new video of Cosby from the Associated Press, which surfaced on Thursday morning. The clip shows the disgraced star, 77, in an interview with an AP reporter, awkwardly asking the journalist that his "no comment" response to a question about the sexual abuse allegations made against him not be aired.
With his wife Camille Hanks sitting beside him, the once-beloved Cosby Show alum looks uncomfortable in the clip, repeating that he does not want to talk about the decades of complaints from women who say Cosby drugged and/or raped them.
After Goldberg and Wallace questioned the video's inclusion in the story, O'Donnell, 52, brought up the latest women to come forward with their own stories about Cosby, including a woman named Therese Serignese, now 57, who spoke to The Huffington Post this week.
"There are lots of allegations starting in 1969," fellow standup O'Donnell said. "There are many, many, many, and it's very hard, I think, for any of us to discuss Bill Cosby in this context. Because he is the beloved father image, the benevolent father that we as a society hold in some way. Even for, you know, anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse to believe that somebody that you love or know could do that is a very difficult thing. So to even talk about it I think is hard."
Perez, 50, took a different view of the situation, commenting on the effect that public opinion can have.
"It's hard, but not hard for people to talk about it on social media," the newcomer said. "I think that that, to me, is the response of NBC and Netflix and TV Land because they're responding to the mob who are very upset with the allegations, and I think that's a big, big statement. It's a really, really big statement… in this world of the Internet and the information highway and social media, I think that it's pretty fascinating that public opinion can turn the tide."
"Well, the only way that this news story became public again was because a male, African-American comedian put it in his act after Googling it and then Howard Stern put him on his show and then all these other women came out as well and said, 'it happened to me,'" O'Donnell shot back, referencing Hannibal Buress' October stand-up set, in which he called Cosby a "rapist" and noted the multiple women who have made allegations against him.
As Perez and O'Donnell continued to disagree about whether the public turned the tide and whose business the claims are, Wallace got involved as well, bringing up the recently published Cosby biography, which made no reference of the allegations.
"Mark Whitaker, who's a very well-respected journalist and author of a new biography Cosby and His Life, decided not to include the allegations in his book because he couldn't confirm them independently," Wallace, 42, said. "It's unknowable, I see the facts as unknowable, but I mean, am I missing something?"
As O'Donnell stared down the two women, Perez added, "I'm not being insincere towards the women who have made these allegations. If they're true, it's horrific and it's horrible and he should pay the price. That's not the issue, Rosie, and I don't want you to put that on me. I don't think that's fair."
After O'Donnell hedged her words, saying she didn't mean to put anything on Perez, Goldberg steered the conversation, equating the backlash that Cosby is going through to the similar criticism faced by serial philanderer Tiger Woods and Paula Deen — a comparison O'Donnell took issue with. "I think there’s a big difference between a rape allegation and Paula using the N-word," she said.
Watch what happens when the panelists move to the women's motivations to come forward in the videos above.
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