Bill Cosby's conviction on sexual assault charges drew a range of reactions on social media Thursday -- including acknowledgement of another comedian whose 2014 jokes about Cosby have been credited with raising awareness of the allegations Cosby faced.
Thousands of people on Twitter and other sites lauded comedian Hannibal Buress, who called Cosby a rapist during a stand-up set at a Philadelphia comedy club that was recorded and which went viral at the time.
"Took a dude to make some jokes" to bring down Cosby, one Twitter user wrote Thursday. "This is what happens when you don’t believe women."
“Hannibal Buress changed history,” New York Post columnist John Podhoretz tweeted.
In the 2014 routine, Buress mocks Cosby's public scolding of the black community for bad behavior, alleging that Cosby has some shortcomings of his own.
“‘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,’ " Buress says, impersonating Cosby.
"'Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby,'" Buress replies in his own voice. "So, brings you down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. But yeah, you’re a rapist.”
"Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. But yeah, you’re a rapist."
Buress then encourages audience members to research Cosby's legal history online.
“When you leave here, Google 'Bill Cosby rape,'" he says. "That [expletive] has more results than Hannibal Buress.”
Cellphone video of the performance, first featured on Philadelphia magazine's website, went viral.
At the time, Buress got hate mail from many Cosby fans as well as praise from others calling him a “feminist hero,” the Washington Post reported.
“I got a lot of flak for that. I had people writing me awful things: ‘Bill Cosby’s not a rapist, Hannibal, you are.’ What?! That’s not how that works!” Buress said in his 2016 Netflix special, according to the Post.
“I got a lot of flak for that. I had people writing me awful things: ‘Bill Cosby’s not a rapist, Hannibal, you are.’ What?! That’s not how that works!”
But soon after Buress’ viral jokes, the allegations against Cosby became common knowledge, and his accusers were galvanized.
More than 60 women have spoken out against Cosby, including 35 accusers who told their story to a “culture that wouldn’t listen,” the Cut magazine reported.
Before then, Cosby's accusers were met with skepticism, threats and attacks on their character, the magazine reported.
In 2005, former basketball star Andrea Constand alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her. But it was not until Thursday, 13 years later, that Cosby was convicted -- although the former sitcom star's lawyer said he plans to file an appeal.
Constand's was the only criminal case to arise from more than 60 women who made allegations against Cosby.
Barbara Bowman had also been telling her story for nearly 10 years, the Post reported.
“Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it?” she wrote in the Post after the Buress joke. “Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim-blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade. Why didn’t our stories go viral?”
Cosby, who had repeatedly denied the allegations, could now face up to 10 years in prison for each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.