In the wake of dozens of sexual assault allegations that have crippled his legacy, Bill Cosby has withdrawn from public life. He is currently charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault related to an alleged 2004 attack. On Wednesday, in an effort to repair the public perception of her father, Cosby's youngest daughter Evin released a statement defending the 79-year-old comedian.
Here's the full text of Evin's statement:
I am the youngest of 5. I remember our family trips and moving to NYC just so we could be closer to my father as he worked. From the times he worked in Las Vegas to the Cosby show in NYC, he always wanted us to be close, to be a part of his whole life, at home and on stage. I felt loved and remembered loving the moments that my parents shared with us by exposing us to all types of people from all walks of life. We grew up appreciating my father's success because we knew the prejudice and racism he endured getting to where he got and how hard he worked for our family. Because I loved my childhood, I couldn't wait to have a family of my own.
I have two amazing children who love their grandfather. I already work hard as a single mother, with no full time help, and with a career in fashion design, I am lucky that I have supportive friends that I call family because my children and I need that support. The public persecution of my dad, my kids' grandfather, and the cruelty of the media and those who speak out branding my father a "rapist" without ever knowing the truth and who shame our family and our friends for defending my dad, makes all of this so much worse for my family and my children. When people are so quick to cast hate and make accusations of horrific violence against my dad, they are callous in their carelessness about the harm they are causing to others.
I thought when my brother Ennis was murdered, that was the worst nightmare of all time. It's so hurtful to this day. I try to block out the day he was killed, but that pain has only worsened in these last years. For some reason, my family's pain has been a trigger for people to seize upon us harder.
On the same day that Ennis was murdered, a woman came out claiming that my father had a "love child." She was arrested for extortion. She was not my father's daughter.
On the day I gave birth to my son, another women came out, but that case was dismissed too - the district attorney investigated her claims also and didn't press charges.
Two years ago, and over ten years later, several women came out. Like the woman from 2005, they claimed to have been raped and drugged. But, like the one from 2005, their stories didn't match up. But instead of going through the criminal justice system, these stories never got investigated and just got repeated. They have been accepted as the truth.
My dad tried to defend himself. His lawyers tried to defend him, but they all got sued. People were constantly reaching out to me about why doesn't your dad say something. I kept saying he's trying, but the media is only interested in the stories of the women. Friends of ours tried to help, but the media wouldn't print what they said or knew. Our friends that spoke up were pressured to shut up. No one wanted to print their supportive words. We live in a scandalous country where the more sexualized and provocative the story, the more attention it gets.
We get all sorts of mixed up messages in our society. We are told that we have fundamental rights to be innocent until proven guilty. But, if enough people think you are a bad person, you are branded a bad person and the media just reinforces that. My dad, like anyone in this country, deserves to be treated fairly under the law.
My dad broke barriers and raised the conscious of America on important topics, especially for the advancement of women. On the Cosby show he only depicted women as smart and accomplished. On the Cosby Show and on a Different World he took on then taboo subjects like menstrual cycles and rape, and even did a show on Aids before anyone else would bring it up.
I am his 4th daughter. He raised me to go to college, start my own business, and be my own woman. He is helping me raise my children and teach them family values. I know that my father loves me, loves my sisters and my mother. He loves and respects women. He is not abusive, violent or a rapist. Sure, like many celebrities tempted by opportunity, he had his affairs, but that was between him and my mother. They have worked through it and moved on, and I am glad they did for them and for our family.
The harsh and hurtful accusations of things that supposedly happened 40 or 50 years ago, before I was born, in another lifetime, and that have been carelessly repeated as truth without allowing my dad to defend himself and without requiring proof, has punished not just my dad but every one of us. They have punished the talented people who were still earning money and feeding their families from my dad's shows and work. I am pleased that finally we are seeing the whole picture and seeing cases and claims dismissed from court. I just hope that those who pre-judged my dad are now willing to admit that they were wrong.
Bill Cosby also broke a long silence on Wednesday, telling the National Newspaper Publishers Association that he longs to return to standup comedy.
I miss it all and I hope that day will come. I have some routines and storytelling that I am working on. I think about walking out on stage somewhere in the United States of America and sitting down in a chair and giving the performance that will be the beginning of the next chapter of my career.
In his statement, Bill confirmed he is now blind, a fact which had been stated by his legal team last October in an attempt to delay his trial. The attempt was unsuccessful—his court date is still set for early June.