If you're a famous comedian and television personality with a slew of rape allegations following you around, you'd think you'd have the good sense to quietly fade into sitcom oblivion. But then you wouldn't be Bill Cosby - who, perhaps with delusions of grandeur - decided he would invite the Internet to create memes about him. The PR attempt to improve his reputation was, well, a disaster.
Does Bill Cosby understand how the internet works, exactly?
Cosby memes were created as requested — just not the affectionately nostalgic kind Cosby and his team likely envisioned. Nope; turns out people had a lot to say about the once-beloved star of The Cosby Show and it wasn't all pudding pops and Fat Albert.
Almost instantaneously, #CosbyMeme became synonymous with rape and rape culture, cueing Cosby's people to frantically hit the delete button on any mention of the words "rape," or variations on the theme.
The allegations against Cosby stem from charges almost 20 years ago - and at this point they are just that - allegations. But stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress created a media storm by calling Cosby a “rapist” while performing in Philadelphia recently. Since then, the response hasn't been kind, with one article explaining why we have such trouble viewing Cosby and other celebrities we come to admire and respect as "sexual predators." Sound at all familiar?
We get sucked in, thinking we *know* this famous person simply by virtue of seeing them on screen. But the difference between the public and private persona can be as marked as that of Jeckyll and Hyde. And we are guilty to falling prey to delusions in our own right.
Not surprisingly, the Cosby meme generator mysteriously—poof!—disappeared as quickly as it came along. But the Twitter-at-large takeover will likely live on for a while yet.