The Rundown: Bill Cosby, San Diego Comic Con, Lauryn Hill
Jul 10, 2015
* Bill Cosby is back in the spotlight…
Kudos to the Associated Press for keeping the pressure on this story. We’ve heard or seen from a range of women – at least over 2 dozen – who’ve accused the comedian of various degrees of sexual assault. But because many of their alleged incidents took place years, or even decades ago, the statute of limitations ran out and so he has never been criminally charged. The AP went to court to get the documents from a deposition in 2005 unsealed. They contained the testimony Cosby gave in a sexual assault case brought by a woman who worked at his alma mater – Temple University (you’ll remember he stepped down from the board and being its public face as a result of mounting pressure from the accusations). That case was settled out of court, for an undisclosed sum of money and with confidential conditions. But at least 13 other Jane Does had come added their voices to that case, of having similar situations happen to them.
During his testimony, Cosby admitted to getting prescriptions for Quaaludes to give the sedative to women he intended to have sex with. His lawyers said the women knowingly took the pills. But we know from some of the women who’ve made the allegations that he would offer them something if they weren’t feeling well. Cosby’s camp is sticking by what it said last month – that it didn’t want the testimony to be unsealed because it would be embarrassing for him and his family. It’s interesting to read why the judge allowed for the papers to be unsealed – it has a lot to do with Cosby being very moralistic about how society should live.
Now, it seems, the issue is coming to a crucial point – will there be one case against him with all the women involved?
Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred is looking at how she can use this testimony going forward and the LAPD says it has one case it’s currently investigating and will go after more, even in spite of the statute of limitations. Hollywood is also voicing its opinion on the matter – director Judd Apatow wants Cosby’s onscreen wife Phylicia Raschad and his real life one Camille Cosby to stand with the women who have made the accusations, while Jill Scott has taken back the support she initially voiced for him when the claims started gaining momentum last year. Whoopi Goldberg, however, says he is guilty until proven innocent.
* Lauryn Hill is giving new life to Nina Simone’s songs…
If you haven’t seen it yet, the excellent documentary – made exclusively for Netflix – about the legendary singer called What Happened, Miss Simone? released recently. And to accompany it, a number of musicians have recorded covers of some of the icon’s most memorable songs. It’s called Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone. Artists like Mary J Blige, Common, Usher – doing a playful cover of My Baby Just Cares for Me – and Lauryn Hill make it a varied and rewarding listen. But it’s Lauryn Hill I’m particularly happy to hear. She’s had a few troubles so it’s good to be reminded of her amazing skills. She was originally meant to record just two songs for the album, but became so swept up in the experience she ended up contributing 6 tracks to the album. She also went on to serve as a producer on the compilation alongside Robert Glasper. Lauryn paid tribute in concert too – earlier this month she put on a show at the Apollo Theatre. She’s also been added to the Afropunk music festival here in New York happening next month. Her cover of Feelin Good does Ms Simone velvety justice.
* San Diego Comic Con kicks off this weekend…
I’m not there this year, sadly, but buzz from the fest is sure to make its way through social media so all the important news will make its way to us movie and TV fans. What to expect? According to those in the know, a closer look at the Batman v Superman movie, as well as the Suicide Squad one – perhaps Will Smith will make an appearance? – Wonder Woman and also Justice League. Special guests and sneak-peek footage from Star Wars: the Force Awakens are also sure to get tongues a-wagging. Especially on the back of the news this week that we’re getting a Star Wars spinoff movie, with a young Hans Solo – to be directed by the guys who gave us the Lego Movie, Philip Miller and Chris Lord. Expect as well, some news about the new offshoot from Heroes called Heroes Reborn and the Walking Dead spinoff too. Geeks of all kind will be there – so I’m a little sad to be missing out on seeing Alex Ross, who made his name with his painted, nearly photorealist artwork for Marvel comics, reveal his illustrations for The Beatles. He did them with the band’s blessing – and hey, Ringo Starr turned 75 this week!
The Apollo Theatre is on 125th between Adam Clayton and Frederick Douglass Blvd (but if you live in NYC, you already knew that.