On November 6, the Associated Press asked Bill Cosby to comment on the rape allegations against him during an on-camera interview.
Cosby refused to respond, but then asked the reporter to "scuttle" the segment about the rape allegations, apparently believing that the interview had ended. Today, the AP released the full video clip showing the discussion:
Cosby's refusal to answer the questions is hardly a surprise. But his demands that AP keep the footage secret — and his apparent confidence that those demands would be met — offer a chilling insight into why it took so long for the allegations against him to become a major news story.
As the AP interviewer squirms uncomfortably in his chair, Cosby tells him that he has agreed to do the interview because he expected the AP to have "integrity." (Cosby appears to be under the mistaken impression that the word "integrity" is defined as "willingness to avoid discussion of the numerous women who have accused you of drugging and raping them if that would make you uncomfortable Mr. Cosby.")
"I would appreciate it if it was scuttled," Cosby says. "I think that if you want to consider yourself as serious, then it will not appear anywhere." An off-camera Cosby associate can then be heard insisting that another AP reporter, Lynn Elber, had agreed not to question Cosby about the rape allegations, implying that there was some sort of AP policy against covering the issue.
The AP obviously refused to accede to Cosby's demands not to show the interview. But how many times, over the years, have reporters agreed not to question Cosby about the rape allegations? How many times has he succeeded in having such interview segments quashed?
Perhaps the answer to those questions could help explain why the rape allegations against Cosby had so little effect on his career until now.