Suddenly, Bill Cosby has a lot to say.
In his first interview in over two years, the disgraced 79-year-old comedian said he does not want to take the stand in his upcoming sexual assault trial, and suggested some of the accusations against him are motivated by racism. He also expressed concern that participating in the more than 30-minute interview with Sirius XM’s Michael Smerconish could cause "trouble" for him.
The unedited chat aired during “The Michael Smerconish Program” on the POTUS (Politics Of The United States) channel on Tuesday morning. During the in-depth talk with Smerconish, Cosby said he would not discuss the sexual assault allegations against him.
“That’s not something that, uh, any smart person would want to do.”
He said he did not anticipate he would take the stand at his trial, which is set to begin this summer.
“No, I do not,” he answered when asked by Smerconish if he thought he would take the stand.
When asked why, he replied, “Once again, I go back to lawyers… when you have to deal with examination, cross examination, et cetera, et cetera… There’s more than two sides to every story – sometimes four or five… But I just don’t want to sit there and have to figure out what I believe is the truthful answer as to whether or not I am opening a can of something that my lawyers are scrambling [to shut].”
He noted he has been absent from public life since dozens of women accused him of sexual abuse.
“I have not performed in over two years. I have not spoken at a graduation in two years or even to speak to an incoming high school freshman… class to give them some idea of what they are going to face and what they ought to do.”
Part of the interview included clips of Cosby being interviewed by his daughters Esna and Erinn.
Cosby said at one point, responding to a suggestion by one of his daughters, that the more than 50 women accusing him of drugging them, sexually assaulting them or both could be motivated, in part, by racism.
“Could be. Could be,” he said at the suggestion.
“I can’t say anything, but there are certain things that I look at and I apply to the situation. There are so many tentacles. So many different – ‘nefarious’ is a great word. And I just truly believe that some of it may very well be that,” the once-celebrated comedian stated during the interview.
He acknowledged, when prompted by Smerconish, that his accusers span all races.
“It’s not all, not every. But I do think that there is some [racism],” he said. “When you look at the power structure and when you look at individuals there are some people who can very well be motivated by whether or not they are going to work or whether or not they might be able to, um, get back at someone. So if it’s in terms of whatever their choice is, I think you can also examine individuals and situations and they will come out differently.”
Cosby also discussed his health, which has been declining, calling himself “unsighted.”
“My health is good. I am well. The glaucoma has been known to me for decades – many, many decades – and it is now that I, after my exams, have been registered – I am registered in Massachusetts as legally unsighted. And trust me, I have some bumps on my forehead and eyebrows that prove that, that, um, there are certain things that I have walked into.”
Cosby mused about the timing of the accusations calling it “impressive” the way all the sexual assault accusers spoke out. He suggested that was because previous accusers saw results when they came forward. Some of Cosby’s accusers have claimed he paid them in various ways over the years.
“I think that the numbers came because the numbers prior to the numbers did work. So, the piling on, so to speak is a way — and certainly an impressive, impressive way to get public opinion to come to the other side,” Cosby told Smerconish.
Smerconish explained how the interview came about ahead of the airing.
“I was contacted recently by a public relations person who works for Cosby… and I said ‘I’m interested in… the audio. I am interested in this case, but I am not interested in playing it unless I can talk to the man.’ So Bill Cosby was made available to me yesterday [Monday].”
Cosby noted that he was speaking to Smerconish after a “different” Mother’s Day at the Cosby home. He revealed he ordered a meal for his wife, Camille, and paired it with a note to surprise her at their home.
“Then, she came down and she read the note and she smiled and everything there was just perfectly done, and it’s exactly what she hasn’t had in a long time, and it was done the way she loves it. And so we ate that together.”
He said the conversation then alluded to the ongoing scandal surrounding their family and things were “removed from my plate until I apologized.”
Cosby said he was doing the interview because he feels he still has a lot to offer as a performer, and he hopes that if the pending trial goes in his favor he can “be remembered as being the guy that they give back all the things that they rescinded.”
The star explained he opted to the interview because he “decided it was time to do something so the people who still have faith in me, and are still wondering what I sound like" could hear from him.
Cosby has had nearly all of his honorary college degrees revoked and his standup shows were canceled nationwide. Many networks also stopped airing reruns of “The Cosby Show” after women began sharing eerily similar stories of being abused by the star.
“I want people to understand that my work as an artist, a performer, I owe a great deal to people who saw things in me. And in many ways… I returned the favors.”
He implied that his accusers were people he was trying to “guide.”
“… Gloria Steinem had a very interesting quote. She said, ‘The truth shall set you free, but first it might piss you off.’ And I’ve said a lot of things to people, trying to give them the truth, trying to motivate them… to guide them into strength… and I’ve taken some hits from people who are supposed to be watching out for people like this. And I do feel like right now, as I speak to you, I want to get back to the laughter and enjoyment of things that I’ve written and things that I’ve performed on stage.”
Cosby said he is confused by the fact that a resurfaced 2005 deposition spurred the current trial he is facing.
“I have an emotion about what the judge did, and I’m still very much confused about how that came about and caused whatever is happening today.”
At the end of his chat, he thanked Smerconish for letting him speak out.
He concluded, “I just hope I’m not in trouble now, man.”