Entertainment news site TheWrap apologized after an opinion piece, “The Rape of Bill Cosby” by guest blogger Richard Stellar, seemingly slammed the women accusing Cosby of rape and offended readers, editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman wrote.
Most upsetting to many readers, Waxman said, was when the blogpost said: “The recollections of events that happened as long as fifty years ago are dredged up by aging actresses who have one eye on the CNN camera, and the other on a book or reality show deal.”
Stellar went on,
“There is no legitimacy to justice if there is no real evidence, and evidence has a way of vanishing as memories dim with the marching of time. A DNA swab on most of Cosby’s detractors if done today would most likely come up exceedingly dry.”
Stellar did say he isn’t “saying that what these women claim happened, didn’t happen,” and called out the “TMZ-isation of journalism.”
Stellar apologized in a note atop his original article Nov. 23. “The furor over my recent blog that was misconstrued as defending Bill Cosby was unexpected, but not unwarranted,” Stellar wrote.
He backtracked his earlier claims that some of Cosby’s accusers were doing so for publicity as well, writing:
“Clearly, the women who have come forward now, do so more out of frustration with the legal system than, as I described, their desire to fix one eye on a CNN camera, and the other on a reality show contract. That was not only mean, but incendiary to anyone who has experienced that sort of abuse. I was reminded by people very close to me, that if any of those women were my daughter, friend, or close associate – I would take a different tact with Cosby that would not end up in a blog. I had to think about that, and admit that they were right.”
Stellar added that he wanted his blogpost to criticize the media. He wrote:
“As Sharon Waxman so eloquently defended me — the purpose of the blog was to bring damnation down on the media. On this subject I’m not willing to pull punches, and in my zeal to cram as many adjectives and references to pop culture into my diatribe — the original substance of the blog was obfuscated by, what one person accurately referred to as language that belonged in middle school.
“I’ve prided myself in defending those who have no voices – the elderly, victims of child abuse, and survivors of the Holocaust. If a Holocaust survivor was discounted because they did not speak out many decades ago, I would be enraged. Therefore, I understand your rage.”
He also tweeted a apology.
My intent was not to belittle the feelings of the accusers or the act of rape. A mea culpa precedes my blog. http://t.co/KsoIIm6uPI
— Richard Stellar (@RichardStellar) November 23, 2014
TheWrap Editor-in-chief Apologizes to Readers in Letter
Waxman’s letter to readers about the post said she reviewed Stellar’s blogpost before publication and that it was edited pre-publication, although “not with the same scrutiny as staff writers who do represent TheWrap.”
She noted that she changed the headline of his post to “In Defense of Bill Cosby.”
Stellar’s “views are often contrarian, but that should never disqualify someone from a community forum,” Waxman wrote, adding that his post “represents a valid point of view” in her opinion.
“On the other hand, an opinion piece with a contrarian view can provoke, but it should not offend. Clearly it has done so, and for that I apologize. That was not intentional,” she added.
iMediaEthics has written to Stellar for comment.