The Smithsonian is opening a new museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall and they plan to feature a section dedicated to Bill Cosby and his work, but now it is being updated with the recent events in his life. According to the USA Today, April 1, 2016, the Smithsonian’s exhibit will include several references to the accusations of sexual assault made against Bill Cosby.
In a statement released by the director of the museum, Lonnie G. Bunch, “Visitors will leave the exhibition knowing more about Mr. Cosby’s impact on American entertainment, while recognizing that his legacy has been severely damaged by the recent accusations.”
Many people wanted the things to do with Bill Cosby removed from the Smithsonian because of the women who have come against him, claiming that he sexually assaulted them. However, the museum disagreed with everyone because too much history has been lost or removed concerning African-Americans already
At first, the Smithsonian was only going to mention Bill Cosby’s achievements and neglect to tell about the downfall of his career. However, they changed their minds and decided that this part of his life and career should be included or at least mentioned.
“For too long, aspects of African American history have been erased and undervalued, creating an incomplete interpretation of the American past. This museum seeks to tell, in the words of the eminent historian John Hope Franklin, “the unvarnished truth” that will help our visitors to remember and better understand what has often been erased and forgotten.“
In the section dedicated to Bill Cosby, they plan to have two items, the cover of Cosby’s 1964 comedy album “I Started Out as a Child” and a comic book, from “I Spy.” There will be clips from the shows “I Spy” and “The Cosby Show,” which according to the New York Times are in a five-minute video of roughly 30 television programs.
The information about the items was going to be about his career of television and comedy, and they were not going to include his latest sexual scandal. However, when so many people contacted the museum asking them to omit Bill Cosby all together, they decided to do something different.
“Like all of history, our interpretation of Bill Cosby is a work in progress, something that will continue to evolve as new evidence and insights come to the fore.”
The section dedicated to Bill Cosby will be small, but the museum plans to have over 3,000 artifacts overall. The subjects that the museum will include slavery, music, the military. and entertainment.
There is a larger ongoing exhibit at the National Museum of African Art, which includes around 62 items from Bill’s personal collection. A curator for the Smithsonian said that if they were to completely leave out “The Cosby Show” or I Spy” the section dedicated to the African American contributors to television would feel incomplete. Those two shows were the ones that so many Americans sat down to watch in the evening and it crossed racial boundaries.
Many visitors to the museum left comments that the section dedicated to Bill Cosby should be taken down, but the museum decided to post a sign “telling visitors an exhibition that includes art owned by Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, is ‘fundamentally about the artworks and the artists who created them, not Mr. Cosby.’ “
At least 50 women have accused Bill Cosby of drugging them and/or assaulting them, with the earliest accusation dating back to 1967. In an earlier deposition, Bill admitted to buying Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with.
Recently, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Debre K. Weintraub ruled that Janice Dickinson, a supermodel who filed a defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby would be allowed to go to trial. Bill is also facing a criminal trial in Philadelphia for an alleged sexual assault that occurred over a decade ago. His wife Camilla Cosby was ordered to give a deposition on the things that she may have known about. However, the deposition rather backfired on them because Camilla continued to claim husband- wife privileged conversation, which prevented her from answering many of their questions.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture plans to open on September 24 and President Obama will be there to cut the ribbon.
Do you think the Smithsonian made the right decision to include Bill Cosby and does the fact that they are mentioning the sexual assault allegations make it permissible to include him?