“Let’s face it: She went up to his house with a bare midriff and incense and bath salts. What the heck?”
That was one of the jurors in the 2017 trial of Bill Cosby, in which the actor and comedian defended himself against charges that, in 2004, he had drugged and then raped Andrea Constand, at the time a Temple University employee for whom he had served as a mentor. The jury in that trial, after more than 50 hours of deliberation, found itself unable to reach a conclusion about the facts of the case. And that anonymous juror suggested to the Philadelphia Inquirer why the jury couldn’t bring itself to convict Cosby: It wasn’t clear to all 12 members, it seems, that the sex that took place between Cosby and Constand wasn’t consensual. After all: the bare midriff. And the incense. What the heck?
The mistrial declared in the 2017 case of Andrea Constand v. William H. Cosby Jr., however, came several months before the outing of Harvey Weinstein as a serial sexual predator—and several months before #MeToo would expand so broadly as to put a dent in the culture. The hung jury, in other words, arrived at its indecision several months before #MeToo would come to suggest—if in the tentative tones of people who have become accustomed to being disappointed—that the world really can get fairer. That things really can get better. That injustice really can be met with its opposite.