Bill Cosby had a lot to say in his first exclusive interview since starting his time at SCI-Phoenix, a maximum-security Pennsylvania penitentiary. In a call with the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s BlackPressUSA.com, the convicted sexual assaulter talked about everything from his trial to starting a mentorship program in prison.
Yes, a mentorship program.
The 82-year-old actor, comedian and creator was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison after his September 2018 conviction on charges of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby expects to serve his entire sentence, even though he still maintains his innocence.
“When I come up for parole, they’re not going to hear me say that I have remorse,” he said. “I was there. I don’t care what group of people come along and talk about this when they weren’t there. They don’t know.”
Cosby went on to say that his trial was unfair and a sham. “It’s all a set up. That whole jury thing. They were imposters,” Cosby said.
“Look at the woman who blew the whistle,” he continued, alluding to the potential juror who overheard a seated juror say before the trial that, “he’s guilty, we can all go home now.”
“The Cosby Show” star went to trial at a time when about 60 women accused him of sexual assault. Yet, Cosby still seems to believe that there’s a conspiracy against him.
“Then she went in and came out smiling, it’s something attorneys will tell you is called a payoff,” Cosby said. “I know what they’ve done to my people. But my people are going to view me and say, ‘that boy looks good. That boy is strong.’”
He then had the nerve to list himself in the same light as historians and Civil Rights leaders. “I have too many heroes that I’ve sat with,” he said. “Too many heroes whom I listened to like John Henrik Clarke, Kenneth Clark, and Dorothy Height. Those people are very strong, and they saw the rejection of their people. This is political. I can see the whole thing.”
He continued, “I am a privileged man in prison.” Well he definitely got one thing right. Over the course of the call, Cosby even referred to his small cell as “my penthouse.”
Cosby then went on to reference his infamous “Pound Cake” speech and continued blaming Black people for their own plight.
“They are under siege. This thing with the drugs and the different pockets of the neighborhoods where it’s going on. When you look at what drugs are doing… things that make these people drive around and shoot into crowds,” Cosby said. “The insanity of what is the cause to the brain by all the drugs these people are dealing with. It’s exactly what I warned them about in 2004. They’ve thrown education out the window. They’ve thrown respect for the family out the window, and they’re blaming each other for what’s going on. There is post-traumatic stress syndrome, and there are also bad manners.”
Cosby seems to be pushing his “pull your pants up and get an education” politics to his fellow inmates, men he calls residents, via a prison reform program called Mann Up. The program aims to encourage Black men to strive for dignity, self-respect and putting their family first.
“I don’t belong to the Mann Up Association, but it’s a privilege to come in and speak,” Cosby said. “I never wanted them to lord me up (be put on a pedestal). This is a great privilege.”
There are testimonies too. One Anthony “Benny-D” Sutton had this to say about Cosby’s speaking engagements:
“Every Tuesday, Mr. Cosby and I sit down and talk before the other residents come in and he explains to me what moves I need to make so that Mann Up can be a success. He says to always remember to work as a team. We are all in this life together and Mr. Cosby is a political prisoner and he tells us that we’ve got to save our babies. We can’t be out there killing our children and our women.”
Tyree Wallace said, “Mr. Cosby comes into the room with his fist in the air and all of these men rise up and applaud him. He gives us so much wisdom and the Mann Up program is the perfect vehicle.”
Cosby then went on to quote Marvin Gaye in his phone interview:
“As I said earlier, the revolution is in the home, and we’ve got to put it there. Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On,’ is very prophetic in that too many of us are dying in these neighborhoods. Too many of us dying and, another quote from the song, is ‘we’ve got to find a way.’”
Cosby then argued how his hit “The Cosby Show” was under attack because of its portrayal of a Black family.
“When ‘The Cosby Show’ came on with the Huxtables, just think about it. While it was running, other networks and even the media were doing jobs on trying to belittle whatever it represented,” Cosby said. “While new shows were coming and we had gone off the air – this is the worst time in the history of television – I remember hearing shows coming on advertising saying this is not ‘The Cosby Show,’ which is an indictment in itself.”
Finally, Cosby explained that he once gave a talk actually dedicated to women.
“I told the story of my wife, who said to me when she got back home after bringing our 43-year-old daughter back home dead from the hospital,” he started. “It was the most difficult thing she’s ever done in her life, to sit there and watch her daughter die. From there, I went into the fact that mothers have something that we all have, which is a navel. We have to respect our mothers and our women. We’ve got to stop buying drugs. If you have no buyer, you can’t sell.”
Cosby still believes himself to be a “political prisoner.”