Several women have recently come forward to accuse actor Bill Cosby of raping and/or sexually harassing them when they were young women. Some of these women claim that Cosby threatened them or tried to pay them off to keep quiet.
One of these women, Joan Tarshis, recently talked about her awful experiences on CNN and while talking about it was hard enough, she also had to put up with the insensitive comments of CNN anchor Don Lemon.
Tarshis shared her story from 1969 when she claims that Cosby forced her to perform oral sex on him. He had tried to have vaginal intercourse with Tarshis but she told him she had an STD to try to change his mind. While he didn’t push the intercourse, he did make her perform oral sex.
After hearing her story, Lemon chimed in to inform her that she could have stopped the oral sex too.
“You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it,” he said.
“I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind,” Tarshis replied. “Now I wish it would have.”
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) November 20, 2014
Viewers weren’t happy about the comment and voiced their opinions on social networks and forums, criticizing Lemon for being so inconsiderate and disrespectful.
Tarshis said that she didn’t feel that the comment was insensitive or disrespectful, but Lemon released an apology anyway.
“A word about my interview last night with Cosby accuser Joan Tarshis: As I am a victim myself, I would never want to suggest that any victim could have prevented a rape,” said Lemon. “If my question to her struck anyone as insensitive, I am sorry as that was certainly not my intention.”
Tarshis accepted the apology and even defended Lemon during her second appearance on CNN.
“I didn’t take it that way,” she said. “I was just kind of shocked, but I didn’t think he was saying, ‘Oh, you could have presented this if you had just fought back.’ I thought it was more of a good-natured, ‘Why didn’t you just do that?’ rather than saying, ‘You could have stopped this if you had just done that.'”
“But quite honestly,” Tarshis continued, “I felt [Lemon] and I didn’t know each other, but…this is the second interview [we’ve done] together and he had kind of horsed around back stage before. He ran in late. We kind of like each other. And I just thought it was kind of maybe something he might not have said on air, [it] might have been seen as good taste to do it on air, but I certainly don’t think that he meant anything malicious by it at all…It was very casually done. It was almost like we were together at a restaurant and saying ‘Why didn’t you do this, hey girlfriend.'”
Do you think the comment was inappropriate?