Celebrities react to the Bill Cosby verdict

On April 26, 2018, disgraced comedian Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. According to NBC News, the verdict came after less than two days of jury deliberation in a retrial of the charges brought by one accuser, Andrea Constand. Cosby, 80, now faces a potential 30 years in jail as each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

In June 2017, Cosby faced his first trial on the same charges, but it ended in a hung jury after two jurors refused to convict the former sitcom star on two of the three counts. The retrial, however, was different in that six of the more than 60 Cosby accusers took the stand to share their stories, which were similar to Constand's — that Cosby allegedly "drugged and assaulted" them.

After the verdict, several of Cosby's accusers who attended the trial shed tears and expressed joy. One of them, Lili Bernard, told NBC News, "I feel like my faith in humanity is restored." 

But those with direct ties to the case weren't the only ones who had reactions to the news. Many of Cosby's fellow famous folk were quick to chime in as well. Here are some celebrity reactions to the Bill Cosby verdict.

Charlamagne Tha God

Controversial radio host, author, and interviewer Charlamagne Tha God has made a name for himself with his candid approach to celebrity interviews and his willingness to "say anything" to some of the biggest stars of hip-hop and the entertainment world. 

"I don't [feel nervous] because I know it's not coming from a malicious place," he told ABC News, adding, "I'm not trying to be mean."

He must have a different approach to social media, because literally minutes after the news of the Cosby verdict broke, Charlamagne fired off the following tweet: "Bill Just Need to tell the Grim Reaper Check Please." Yeesh. That's harsh even by the most ardent anti-Cosby standards.

Elizabeth Banks

Fortunately, not all celebs chose the low road in their reaction to the Bill Cosby verdict. The Hunger Games star, Elizabeth Banks, was one of them when she tweeted, "Finally some justice for Bill Cosby's victims. May they find a little #peace today. #GUILTY"

It's not the first time Banks has shown solidarity with victims of sexual harassment, abuse, or assault. In October 2016, she posted a message to Facebook in support of the #MeToo movement that read, "Far too many 'me toos' out there this weekend. You are not alone. You are brave. All love. Art by For All Womankind. Also, #metoo."

Jake Tapper

CNN News anchor Jake Tapper reacted to the Cosby verdict with some throwback footage: a 2013 clip of "America's Dad" chastising Jon Stewart for swearing on The Daily Show.

"From whenst I cometh, when people cursed the next thing is somebody was going to hit you," Cosby told Stewart (via The Wrap). "See now there's a whole new culture. People curse and they laugh. But for me, when you were cursing, I start crying."

Stewart took the scolding in stride, quipping, "It wasn't cursing, it was Yiddish."

That moment proved particularly poignant to Tapper, who also shared a report on his Twitter about Cosby calling a prosecutor an "a**hole" in court after his guilty verdict was delivered.

"Remember when Cosby lectured other comedians not to curse?" Tapper tweeted. End of story.

Chelsea Handler

In a guest column for Deadline, comedian and talk show host Chelsea Handler wrote about her leading role in the March on Main, one of several hundred protests in support of #MeToo that took place during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. In particular, Handler wrote that her activism, which she has shelved her comedy career to pursue, was spurned by the election of Donald Trump. So it's not really a shock that when she decided to comment on the Bill Cosby verdict, the president, who has also been accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women, came up.

"I wonder how long it's going to take Trump to announce he's going to pardon Bill Cosby," Handler tweeted. Sounds like that comedy career hasn't quite come to a full stop, or maybe she's dead serious. 

Patricia & Rosanna Arquette

It hasn't been all satire in the wake of the Cosby verdict, particularly for actress and activist Patricia Arquette, who took the time to remind everyone of the incredible uphill climb it took to reach a verdict in the Cosby case. "The state of America is this — Even with dozens of accusers we were all afraid Bill Cosby would walk," she tweeted.

Arquette, whose Twitter bio notes her activism in the fight for equal pay, also retweeted several other messages from users who were ecstatic about the verdict, including one that stated it was "A victory for all of us."

Her sister, fellow actress Rosanna Arquette, kept her response to the verdict short and sweet with a series of tweets that simply read, "Guilty" and "Cosby guilty as sin."

Lisa Bloom

Famed celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom, whose clients include Cosby accuser Janice Dickinson, was quick to celebrate the retrial's results on Twitter. "THANK YOU Montgomery County prosecutors and police," she tweeted, while also acknowledging "all 60 women who have spoken out about Cosby" and "all who have supported them." She concluded her message with, "The day has come. Justice delayed, but justice delivered."

Bloom is representing former model Dickinson in a defamation suit against the disgraced comedian. According to Deadline, "Dickinson has alleged that she was raped and drugged by Cosby in 1982, and that Cosby and members of his legal team accused her of lying when she later made the accusation." 

Bloom's track record working on behalf of accusers and the accused in sexual misconduct cases has come under fire in in the wake of the #MeToo movement. At one point in 2017, Bloom had agreed to represent disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein — a man whose reputation has become as tainted as Cosby's. She later resigned her post as Weinstein's courtroom champion, calling her initial decision a "colossal mistake."

Rose McGowan

Actress Rose McGowan has been on the front lines of the #MeToo movement since she broke her silence and led the charge against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein. According to IndieWire, McGowan fully disclosed her rape accusation against Weinstein in October 2017 after years of hinting at "an incident" that occurred between them in 1997. Emboldened by The New York Times exposé of allegations from multiple women against Weinstein, McGowan told her own story about how she was allegedly paid $100,000 to keep quiet all those years.

With Twitter as the preferred platform for her activism, McGowan has since offered criticism of many powerful men who were taken down in the wake of the Weinstein accusations. When NBC fired longtime Today host Matt Lauer over claims of sexual misconduct, McGowan tweeted, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Matt Lauer." When Ben Affleck was exposed on video apparently groping an interviewer, McGowan bluntly tweeted, "Ben Affleck f**k off."

So it shouldn't come as a shock that within minutes of the Cosby verdict being reported, McGowan was more than ready with two pointed tweets aimed at the former Dr. Cliff Huxtable. "Profoundly happy that Cosby's victims, his survivors, are shedding tears of relief today," she tweeted first, followed quickly with, "Cosby is guilty. I'm sorry if you loved a lie. His victims can now exhale. Thank you judge and jury. Thank you society for waking up."

Larry Wilmore

Comedian and former The Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore has been very clear about his feeling toward Bill Cosby for a long time. In fact, upon hearing the guilty verdict, one of Wilmore's first moves was to remind his Twitter followers of a segment he once did on the show called "I Haven't Forgotten About You, Motherf***er Update" during which he refers to Cosby as "Fat Perverted Albert." So it's safe to say Wilmore was no longer a fan prior to Cosby's conviction.

That said, Willmore's most direct reaction to the jury's decision was to tweet, "More importantly, I haven't forgotten about the many women you assaulted and silenced with your power. Good riddance!!!" Something tells us we can expect a few more nostalgic show tweets from Wilmore following any further updates on Mr. Cosby's legal troubles.

​Allison Tolman

Allison Tolman is the actress who had a breakout role as the wily Officer Molly Solverson in the second season of Fargo. Perhaps that's why she went for the law enforcement angle in regards to the Bill Cosby verdict when she tweeted, "It's a bad week to be an old man who terrorized women for decades! But not as bad a week as it is to be a woman literally all of the other weeks! #GoldenStateKiller #BillCosby"

That first hashtag is a reference to the decades-old cold case of a serial killer and rapist that came to a close one day before Cosby's conviction after Sacramento detectives made a DNA link to a suspect.

It's startling to think that a man millions of Americans welcomed into their living rooms on a weekly basis would ever be lumped in with some of the most horrific criminals of all time, but with this guilty verdict, Twitter is apparently already embracing this reality. 

Padma Lakshmi

A little over a month before the Cosby verdict, Top Chef host and former model Padma Lakshmi delivered the keynote address at the United Nation's Women's Empowerment Forum. In her remarks, she invoked the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, called for better education for young boys and girls about "standards of behavior and appropriate physical boundaries," and stressed the urgency of the improvement of support systems for young women who experience sexual intimidation or assault. When it came time for her to offer her thoughts on the Cosby verdict, there was no joking around.

Lakshmi also brought some serious perspective when she reminded us how poetic the verdict's timing truly was. "In a fitting end to Sexual Assault Awareness month, Bill Cosby was found guilty today," she tweeted. "Thinking of all the women he traumatized over the past 50 years. As a survivor myself, I know that pain never fully goes away. But I hope that his victims finally feel some semblance of peace."

Geraldo Rivera

Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera poured a bit of cold water on the early celebrations of the conviction of The Cos when he tweeted, "#BillCosby guilty & facing spending the rest of his natural life behind bars — that is IF convictions can withstand certain appeal based on trail judge's allowance of five additional alleged victims testimony to buttress the complaining witness."

The replies to Rivera's dubious musing on the Cosby verdict were all over the place. More than a few people seized on his apparent inability to spell the word "trial," while others somehow shifted the conversation to President Trump. Then there were the folks who seemingly sided with Cosby.

User @tonynwabudike wrote, "Are we not going down a slippery slope here where a conviction can occur years later "BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT" without evidence except for "a story" "an allegation" but still, no solid evidence. This can happen to anyone then!!" Guess he missed the part where the jury was allowed to hear Cosby admit that he gave drugs to women with the intention of having sex with them.

Dax Shepard

Actor Dax Shepard went the comedic route, riffing on Cosby's alleged profane outburst directed at District Attorney Kevin Steele, whom he called an "a**hole," according to Page Six. In response to the notoriously family-friendly comedian, Shepard tweeted, "I hope Eddie Murphy reaches out and scolds him for using 'blue' words in his set."

This is, of course, a nod to Eddie Murphy's famous bit from his stand-up special called Raw. In the bit, Murphy tells a story about how Cosby "chastised" him over the phone for "saying filth flarn filth flarn filth in front of people."

Granted, this wasn't the most groundbreaking or poignant commentary on a man convicted of aggravated indecent assault of one woman and accused by more than 50 others of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them, but kudos to Shepard for the multilayered joke and classic throwback reference.

Jessica Chastain

Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain is another outspoken actress of the #MeToo movement, who, according to The Guardian, became something of a de facto "spokesperson for women in film" after remarks she made about female representation in the medium at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. As such, she's also been vocal about the Harvey Weinstein accusations and has shared her own stories about sexual assault and harassment.

Not surprisingly, her commentary about the Bill Cosby verdict came in the form of a message about consent. "Just because you're rich and powerful doesn't mean another person's body is automatically available for sex. Consent must be given. #BillCosby," she tweeted. As if to really drive home the teachable moment, Chastain followed that tweet with a list of instances in which consent is not given, including, "where the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity."

It was no half-baked rape joke or snarky slam, but we feel like Chastain got a pretty solid dig in there.

Christopher Titus

The jury is still out about whether or not the court of public opinion will deem it cool to make rape jokes about Cosby, but Christopher Titus isn't waiting for a verdict on that one. Exhibit A: this tweet, posted immediately following the court's decision about America's Dad: "At five years old I made a decision to become a comedian because of Bill Cosby. Today I decided to never rape anyone. #DodgedABullet."

Reactions to that joke were mixed. User @Bitterwhiteguy responded with, "I think you might want to go back and workshop this tweet." Meanwhile, @FiendVinny tweeted, "Hey, finally a good joke. Keep it coming!" along with a video clip of a racoon clapping. 

And that, dear reader, is a tiny fraction of the internet's initial reactions to a major legal decision impacting countless people over decades.