Bill Cosby speaks out on the first anniversary of his reversal of his sexual conviction.
It’s been exactly one year since the once-loved comedian and actor’s 2018 conviction was overturned and he was released from Pennsylvania prison. The 84-year-old is celebrating the day with a party, his spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, told Yahoo Entertainment. He also breaks his silence about his time in SCI Phoenix prison in a new 22-minute video.
Cosby was the first celebrity to be tried and convicted in the #MeToo era. While 60 women accused The Cosby Show star of sexual misconduct, this case arose from the allegation by Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee, that he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004. He was found guilty 14 years later and sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison. In a surprising turn of events, the court ruled that “America’s Dad” was wrongly prosecuted — because the previous prosecutor had promised Cosby would not be charged over Constand’s charges — and he walked free on June 30, 2021.
In the new video, which can be seen on Wyatt’s Instagram page, Cosby talked about sleeping on the bed in his cell, which he called “the penthouse,” when he received the surprising news that he would be released immediately.
“What’s up – June?” he said he was joking to the guards.
Cosby said it was a flurry, with several guards telling him to get up immediately to leave. Cosby, who was of the general population, recalled that someone put on his prison-issued shower shoes, initially on the wrong feet, and left the cell, where a wheelchair was waiting for him.
As he was wheeled out, Cosby, who is legally blind, first remembered the silence. “Then all of a sudden I hear this in time — not the kind of applause you get at the beginning or middle of your show — this is clapping together. Clap, clap, clap, clap… They all clapped. It was very, for me, very moving,” he said.
Cosby said “murderers, rapists, bank robbers, woman beaters” [were] All clapped” for him. Many were inmates he interacted with during various prison programs he participated in. There was Mann-Up and FACT, which he attended, facilitated by an inmate named Popcorn. Cosby has spoken before about helping fellow blacks prisoners, by speaking at meetings of these groups while incarcerated.
Cosby was then told his car was ready and for the first time in two years and 10 months he was able to get out and into his car without his hands or legs being chained up. Footage was shown of his drive home, with Wyatt at the wheel.
“Your wife got you out of jail,” Wyatt told him, referring to Camille, whom he married in 1964. “Yes, I know my wife did it. She did it without a doubt.’
Cosby immediately wanted to know, footage from the drive home from prison showed what Wyatt heard on the news about his release. Wyatt said he heard the night before it might happen; Cosby was completely surprised, he said.
“I’m a free man, you know,” Cosby said, adding that he was relieved that he no longer had to file a sex offender report. He said on his back that “the media made a lot of money”.
He also thought of the men he met in prison and now left behind, including the story of someone who told him, “‘I want to be your hero, Mr. Cosby’… I kept saying, ‘So I hope man, I hope so.'”
Upon reaching his house — with a media frenzy awaiting — Cosby said he would go in first and “get a little rest” because “my heart… it’s just heavy.” Wyatt told Cosby to make a raised fist gesture to the press out the window. Instead, he practiced doing a “V” for the victory sign, which he later did on the presser.
Cosby shared a statement with Yahoo about why he decided to speak out about his first anniversary release. He said, “I think of hope and inspiration when I think of those men I will never leave behind or forget. Many of them called me their HERO, but they really became my HERO.”
As he continues to celebrate, his release naturally stunned Hollywood and its many accusers. And that wasn’t the end of his legal troubles. Earlier this month, a California jury found that Cosby sexually assaulted Judy Huth as a teenager at the Playboy Mansion in 1975. Huth, now 64, was awarded $500,000. Although Cosby has been accused of sexual misconduct by 60 women, this was the first civil case to go to trial. Cosby, who denied any sexual encounter, was not present at the trial.