Bill Cosby's Biographer Admits Mistake

Mark Whitaker says stories are 'shocking,' 'horrible' if true
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2014 7:16 AM CST
Bill Cosby's Biographer Admits Mistake
Comedian Bill Cosby performs at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts, in Melbourne, Fla., on Nov. 21, 2014.   (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The most glaring omission in Cosby: His Life and Times, Mark Whitaker's biography of Bill Cosby released Sept. 16: the myriad sexual assault claims against the comedian dating back decades. Whitaker was yesterday called out by David Carr, who wrote in the New York Times that "those in the know" (Carr included) neglected to more thoroughly investigate or report on the abuse allegations that have been floating around for years while penning their articles on Cosby. Whitaker acknowledged his regrets online, tweeting to Carr yesterday afternoon, "David you are right. I was wrong to not deal with the sexual assault charges against Cosby and pursue them more aggressively." He adds, "I am following new developments and will address them at the appropriate time. If true the stories are shocking and horrible."

Carr isn't the first to wonder why Whitaker sidestepped mention of the allegations, nor the last. In a piece on Salon last night, Erin Keane wrote that while journalists should be lauded for fact-checking and confirming what they uncover before they print it, "at some point, it becomes irresponsible not to mention multiple accusations of violence and sexual abuse, especially when they contrast so starkly with the image the bulk of the biography presents." And that biography, as Dwight Garner wrote in the Times in September, is "square, competent, gentle, G-rated, dignified, and, in the end, a bit distant." Now Whitaker is rethinking his decision, telling the Daily Beast, "Well, look, obviously the story has changed, and I'm going to have to address that in future editions of the book, if not sooner. If it happened, and it was a pattern, it's terrible and really creepy." (More Bill Cosby stories.)

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