In federal court and the public consciousness, his moralizing accelerated the cultural backlash against him and provided evidence that would be used against him at trial.
On Thursday “America’s Dad” was convicted of sexual assault.
Cosby’s image as a wholesome sitcom dad and moral exemplar had been irreparably tarnished in the past few years by dozens of women coming forward with stories of drug-induced sexual assault, some new, some raised a decade ago. But the conviction will define his legacy forever, even if he never spends a day in prison. He went from selling pudding pops and gelatin, from being a comedian who told “clean” jokes and coaxed children into saying funny things, to becoming a symbol of how society allows sexual abuse by powerful men to go unpunished.
And if it hadn’t been for his decision to scold poor black Americans for their moral failures while decades of sexual assault allegations had remained hidden, it’s possible none of Cosby’s victims would have gotten their day in court.