Cosby and his wife, Camille Cosby, donated 62 pieces of their extensive African and African American art collection for a showing at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., entitled “Conversations: African and African-American Artworks In Dialogue.”
The interview began benignly enough, but ended with Simon asking Cosby to address the allegations, a question that was met with disapproving silence.
SIMON: This question gives me no pleasure, Mr. Cosby, but there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days. You’re shaking your head no. [SILENCE] I’m in the news business. I have to ask the question – do you have any response to those charges? [SILENCE] Shaking your head no – there are people who love you who might like to hear from you about this. I want to give you the chance. [SILENCE] All right, Camille and Bill Cosby – they have lent 62 pieces from their collection of African and African-American artists to create an exhibit called “Conversations: African and African-American Artworks In Dialogue.” It’s now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art through early 2016. Thank you both for joining us.
Responses to the interview have ranged from Cosby supporters angry that Simon asked the question—deemed by some to be inappropriate and/or irrelevant—to others praising the host for taking it there. After all, a journalist asks the tough questions; anything less is merely public relations.
According to an Associated Press report, following the NPR interview Cosby also canceled a Nov. 19 appearance on the “Late Show” with David Letterman.