Know When to Fold

New York Magazine CoverBill Cosby cannot recover from damage to reputation

Now, after decades of allegations comes a New York magazine cover that says it all. A picture is worth a thousand words … and in this case, possibly millions of dollars to alleged victims of suspected Mass Groper Bill Cosby.

Dozens of women aligned in rows make for a stark image and send an even stronger message. Can 35 women be wrong? Just their range of ages is a testament to a long pattern of … something.

It’s no joke that this legendary comedian is losing his public image battle on every front.

I’m not qualified to talk about the legality of the situation, but in this media-saturated world, perception arguably carries even more weight. Recent testimony and previously sealed documents point to a sick pattern of exploitation that cannot find a rival. Cosby cannot recover from this.

What works in his favor? Very little. His age? He’s old, true. His family man appeal? That’s even older. “America’s favorite dad” has turned into America’s big embarrassment.

We are a society of hopeful people. We applaud success and choose heroes as role models. Cosby has entertained millions of Americans for almost 50 years. We like him, even love him (at least the TV version of him).

But now, there’s a sick feeling that we’ve been duped by the king of corn. For years, we chose to ignore the pleas of dozens of women who laid out a solid case against Cosby. We wanted to keep him on a pedestal and politely ignore the obvious. That’s part of human nature: Assume the best in people.

There’s no public relations practitioner in the world that can help Bill Cosby. His own comments and testimony are solid nails in his image coffin. Even now, more women are coming forward than Heinz has pickles, and he’s drowning in the weight of overwhelmingly damning evidence.

The only thing left for Mr. Cosby to do is tell the truth and yank the lid off of the intricate cover-up he’s maintained. At least then we’ll know he’s come to his senses. I always advise people that the only way out of a difficult situation is to tell the truth, even if it’s painful.

In this case, there are dozens of reasons to come clean. I see them on the cover of New York magazine.

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