For Tiffany Haddish to make light of Cosby’s wrongdoing is nothing short of disappointing. The situation is no laughing matter.

By Jessica Dulaney

Fresh off the release of the hit film Girls Trip, comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish has been charming audiences around the world while working the press circuit. She appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to gush about her escapades with her co-star Jada Pinkett Smith; she was featured on The Breakfast Club to share her story of surviving domestic abuse and poverty to help raise her younger siblings and she dazzled on a recent cover of Essence magazine. Suffice it to say Haddish has been glowing in this newfound spotlight.

Throughout her promotion for Girls Trip, Haddish has proven herself to be hilarious, down-to-earth, and downright likable. Celebrated as the breakout star of the film, she seems poised to take over Hollywood as the new comedic it-girl. However, a disturbing answer to a routine interview question now threatens to erode her newfound good graces in the eyes of the public.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times released last week, Haddish outlined her unlikely path to fame from foster care to comedy camp to sitcom scenes. She was one of eighteen black women comedians interviewed about their careers and the state of the industry. When asked to name some of her comedic inspirations, Haddish took an unexpected turn with her comments and named–of all people–Bill Cosby. For those out of the loop, in the past year, nearly sixty women have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual assault. Cosby himself has admitted to extramarital affairs that included the non-consensual use of Quaaludes. While the court case ended in mistrial, the Cosby controversy is far from over, and the world is still reeling from the horrific revelation of a formerly beloved icon’s true character.

Related: CAPING FOR CHRIS BROWN WON’T MAKE HIM LOVE YOU

Dark humor has become a staple in comedians’ treatment of Cosby in light of these unsavory allegations. For example, in one of his 2017 Netflix comedy specials, The Age of Spin, Dave Chappelle presented his mixed emotions surrounding the fall from grace of a fellow black comedian he had always revered. Chappelle’s disgust and disappointment is evident throughout the bit, and he aptly voices the incredulity many people who grew up watching and admiring Cosby must feel over these horrific allegations. Even though he pokes fun at the situation, his message is clear – Cosby was wrong, and people are hurting.

On the other hand, Haddish’s comments on Cosby miss the mark entirely.

Laughing, Haddish stated she would “drink the juice,” and “take a nap,” referring to Cosby’s tendency to sedate his victims with spiked beverages. If Haddish had just joked about risking an encounter with Cosby her to further her career, her comment would have been at the very least distasteful–comedians push the boundaries, after all. But instead, Haddish continued and declared that she would like Cosby to play a grandfather character in a hypothetical project.

Her statement is incredibly insensitive to the women who trusted Cosby to offer them guidance and opportunity for their careers in the entertainment industry. Cosby carefully crafted the façade of the wholesome father figure to hide his predatory behaviors, and for decades, he succeeded. Who would ever suspect Dr. Huxtable, the wise and lovable family man, to be a calculated abuser of women? The guy with the goofy grin who shills Jell-O and chats with children on television every week could never hurt anyone, right? Cosby banked on his respectable image for protection for his crimes, and innocent women have paid the price.

Related: NO, DAMON WAYANS. BLACK PEOPLE ARE NOT CONSPIRING TO RUIN BILL COSBY

Sadly, the exploitation of a privileged position in a community to hide evil intentions is not limited to this instance. In a 2015 Time article, feminist writer and activist, Feminista Jones described a destructive tendency in the black community to shelter male abusers. The compulsion to protect black men from racist accusations and violent stereotypes too often comes at the expense of women’s safety and wellbeing. For many survivors of assault, the fear of social stigma makes them reluctant to come forward and name their attacker. For that reason, these survivors continue to have their darkest moments diminished and their voices unheard.

For Tiffany Haddish to make light of Cosby’s wrongdoing is nothing short of disappointing. The situation is no laughing matter.

 

 

Author Bio: Jessica is a writer who hails from the state of Mississippi. She has strong opinions on pop culture, politics, and the Oxford comma. She can be found on Twitter and on her website, jessicadulaney.com.

 Featured Image: Michele K. Short/Universal Pictures via AP

Comments