Bill Cosby has kept his mouth shut about the scandal that threatens to bring his reputation and business crashing down. His wife has also been silent, leaving onlookers to wonder at the thoughts and motives of both. The most direct news that had come out for a while was from the mouths of unnamed "inside sources" who have lots to say, but nothing to prove.
Then came the deposition. Not a new deposition, mind you, but an older one from the complaints brought by Andrea Constand. Bill Cosby's replies to the questions in that deposition were sealed by a judge as part of the confidentiality agreement the two parties reached in 2006.
But Constand, who had honored the confidentiality agreement so far, made a motion to a judge to release portions of that deposition anyway, insisting that Bill Cosby had violated the agreement himself by smearing her name in the press in an effort to defend himself against the recent scandal.
"But for Cosby's repeated violations of the confidentiality agreement and attempt to sway public opinion in his favor this motion would not have been necessary," Constand's lawyer wrote.
"The release of these documents will assist other women who have been victimized and bring awareness to the fact that sexual assault is not just committed with a gun or knife but is also committed by mentors who engage in exploitative behaviors."
The portions of that deposition that the judge agreed to release have dealt a blow to Bill Cosby's reputation. One of the things that came to light was that Bill Cosby admitted to procuring Quaaludes for purposes of sex with other women. He did not admit to using the Quaaludes to drug women into non-consensual sex, but he was asked about that. The record indicates that Cosby declined to answer that question on the advice of his attorney.
At this point I'd rather have Bill Cosby's quaalude dealer be president than Donald Trump.
— Allison Chase (@ahchase) July 22, 2015
But the cat was out of the bag in the press. The headline that 'Bill Cosby Admits He Used Drugs For Sex' was splashed everywhere. Few would read far enough beyond that to see that he had not actually admitted to drugging women and raping them.
Add to that the revelation in the deposition that Cosby had taken steps to hide his affairs from his wife, and the damage was inevitable.
Bill Cosby had sex with women besides his wife. He had procured Quaaludes for that purpose. And he had hidden it from his wife, including paying hush money.
The rest of the colors would not matter. Contrary to what Camille Cosby desperately wanted everyone to believe, Bill Cosby was certainly not "the man you thought you knew."
Now Cosby's lawyers have come out fighting. His lawyers have come to his aid in the past, putting a stop to an extortion attempt by another woman who may or may not have been his daughter. This time, they are going after the Quaaludes story.
i need a quaalude. wtf is BIll Cosby when u need him?
— KellyLee (@jasian12345) July 22, 2015
"Quaaludes were a highly popular recreational drug in the 1970s, labeled in slang as 'disco biscuits' and known for their capacity to increase sexual arousal," wrote one of Cosby's attorneys.
"There are countless tales of celebrities, music stars, and wealthy socialites in the 1970s willingly using Quaaludes for recreational purposes and during consensual sex. Yet upon the unsealing of those excerpts, the media immediately pounced, inaccurately labeling the released testimony as defendant's 'confession' of 'drugging' women and assaulting them," Cosby's attorney argued.
"Reading the media accounts, one would conclude the defendant has admitted to rape. And yet defendant admitted to nothing more than being one of the many people who introduced Quaaludes into their consensual sex life in the 1970s."
Indeed, just last month, former Playboy playmate Holly Madison recounted an incident at the Playboy Mansion where she said Hugh Hefner offered her Quaaludes.
This passage is from her book Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny:
“‘Would you like a Quaalude?’ Hef asked, leaning toward me with a bunch of large horse pills in his hands, held together by a crumpled tissue,” Madison recounts. She turned the pills down.
“Hef did not miss a beat: ‘Okay, that’s good,’ he said, nonchalantly. ‘Usually, I don’t approve of drugs, but you know, in the ‘70s they used to call these pills thigh openers.’"
Cosby's lawyers may have a point about how Quaaludes were popularly used, but they are likely trying to win a battle that will not turn the tide of the war, at least not in terms of public opinion. Public opinion does not hinge upon reasonable doubt. Bill Cosby's reputation was based on all the times his family and others had insisted that he was Heathcliff Huxtable.
If Cliff and Clair wanted to joke about hitting the special barbecue sauce, that was one thing. But if Cliff had started making extra batches of sauce to take to other women, that would've been an entirely different show.