Flawed Bill Cosby biography is pulled

Plans for a paperback edition of a Bill Cosby biography have been pulled, following the recent claims against the comedian of sexual assault.

Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker was described as “the first major biography of an American icon”, when it was released in September.

It garnered positive reviews, but was later criticised for failing to address the accusations against the star.

Several celebrity endorsements for the biography have since been rescinded.

The publication of first edition saw the likes of Billy Crystal, Mary Tyler Moore, Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman sing the book’s praises. These have now been removed from pages promoting the book online.

Seinfeld is quoted on the back cover of the book, saying: “I know certain religions forbid idol worship. If anyone ever told me I had to stop idolizing Bill Cosby, I would say, ‘Sorry, but I’m out of this religion.’

“So if you want to join the Religion of Cosby, as I did back in 1966, Mark Whitaker’s wonderful new book would be our Bible.”

Simon and Schuster vice president Cary Goldstein told the Associated Press that representatives from some of the celebrities had contacted the publisher about removing their quotes.

Tom Keaney, who represents Seinfeld and Letterman, told The Hollywood Reporter: “We were unaware that those quotes were still in circulation, and are asking the publisher to refrain from their future use.”

‘No updates’

Whitaker’s 544-page biography paints a sympathetic portrait of Cosby, and praises his contributions to race relations in the US.

The book was “based on extensive research and in-depth interviews with Cosby and more than sixty of his closest friends and associates”.

But it never mentions the rumours that the star had drugged and assaulted women during the 1970s and 1980s.

The book’s publication was, in part, responsible for prompting several women to come forward with their stories.

Now 78, the comedian has never been charged with a crime and publicly denies the claims.

In November Whittaker, a former editor of Newsweek, tweeted that he was “wrong to not deal with the sexual assault charges against Cosby and pursue them more aggressively”.

Simon and Schuster have now confirmed the book will not be updated to include the allegations and it will not get a paperback publication.

Mark Whittaker tweet

The first allegations against Mr Cosby came to light in 2005, when two women publicly accused the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting them while they were unconscious.

One of the women, Andrea Constand, filed a civil lawsuit against Mr Cosby, which they settled out of court in November 2006.

Over the years more women have come forward but the allegations did not gain mainstream attention until last October when footage of a live set of comedian Hannibal Buress was posted online in which he called Cosby a rapist.

On Thursday, Cosby failed to block a civil case accusing him of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1974.

The California Supreme Court rejected his petition to review the case brought by Judy Huth – meaning her lawyers can now question Mr Cosby under oath.

Source: BBC

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