After numerous women have come forward claiming that Bill Cosby drugged and sexually abused them, Jay Leno is taking their side.
During a Q&A session at the NAPTE conference in Miami, Fla., on Wednesday, the former host of "The Tonight Show" was stumped as to why not everyone is supporting the 77-year-old comedian's accusers. "I don't know why it's so hard to believe women," Leno said of the Cosby controversy. "You to go Saudi Arabia and you need two women to testify against a man. Here you need 25."
These multiple sexual abuse allegations against "The Cosby Show" star came to light after comedian and "Broad City" star Hannibal Buress brought them up during one of his stand-up shows in Philadelphia this past October.
"It's even worse because Bill Cosby has the f--king smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. He gets on TV, 'Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.' Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches," Buress said in his set. "'I don't curse onstage.' Well, yeah, you’re a rapist."
Leno said of Buress' joke, "[Buress] made a flat-out statement that reverberated around the world. On any other media that would have been edited. People are getting news unfiltered now. [That’s good]."
While Leno, 64, is standing up for those accusing Cosby, the comedian's former on-screen son, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, also spoke out and was hesitant to say which side he is taking. "He's one of my mentors, and he's been very influential and played a big role in my life as a friend and mentor," he told Billboard magazine of his "Cosby Show" co-star. "Just as it's painful to hear any woman talk about sexual assault, whether true or not, it's just as painful to watch my friend and mentor go through this."
He added, "I can't really speak on any of the allegations because obviously, I was not there. The Bill Cosby I know has been great to me and great for a lot of people. What he's done for comedy and television has been legendary and history-making. What he's done for the black community and education has been invaluable. That's the Bill Cosby I know. I can't speak on the other stuff."
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Cosby has never been criminally charged for any of these allegations and has universally denied all claims.