Cosby's wife: Sex assault claims untrue
BILL Cosby's wife has lashed out at the media reporting on sex-abuse claims against the veteran comic, saying he was the victim of unfounded accusations and was "a wonderful husband".
It is Camille Cosby's first public statements since the wave of accusations began last month, causing networks to shelve projects with The Cosby Show star and several of his stand-up comedy shows to be cancelled.
She compared the coverage of her husband to last week's Rolling Stone magazine story about alleged rape at the University of Virginia, for which the magazine later apologised.
"The man I met and fell in love with...is the man you all knew through his work. He is a kind man, a generous man, a funny man, and a wonderful husband, father and friend. He is the man you thought you knew," she said.
"A different man has been portrayed in the media over the last two months. It is the portrait of a man I do not know. It is also a portrait painted by individuals and organisations whom many in the media have given a pass."
More than 20 women have accused Cosby, 77, one of the most popular faces on American television, of sexual assault and rape, most going back decades.
Most of the allegations fall outside the statute of limitations for criminal charges. But one woman, former Playboy hostess Judy Huth, filed a sexual assault lawsuit in Los Angeles against the Emmy and Golden Globe winner.
Mrs Cosby, who married Bill Cosby in 1964, blamed the news media for not vetting her husband's accusers.
"There appears to be no vetting of my husband's accusers before stories are published or aired. An accusation is published and immediately goes viral," she said in a statement widely cited by American media.
She referred to Rolling Stone, which last week all but retracted a story about a gang rape, saying it was wrong to have trusted without question the alleged victim's version of what happened.
"The story was heart-breaking, but ultimately appears to be proved to be untrue," she said, adding: "None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim. But the question should be asked - who is the victim?"
Cosby's attorney, Marty Singer, has called Ms Huth's suit meritless and alleges that the comedian is a target of extortion.
But Spelman College, a historically black women's college in Atlanta, on Monday suspended a visiting professor programme named after Cosby, who has also resigned as a trustee from his alma mater, Temple University.
Cosby settled a 2005 civil suit that alleged sexual misconduct.
On Sunday, he gave a brief interview with the New York Post, disparaging the news media and praising his wife.