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'Ebony' examines 'The Cosby Show' legacy in wake of scandal

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Multiple people involved with The Cosby Show have come forward in recent months, stating that the family sitcom’s reputation is tarnished as a result of the dozens of sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, the show’s star and co-creator. Now, Ebony is dissecting the relationship between Cosby and The Cosby Show in its latest issue, which features a photo of the Huxtables — underneath shattered glass — on the cover.

In an excerpt from the story, writer Goldie Taylor poses the question, “as Cosby stands accused of sexually assaulting at least 40 women, Black America is left to grapple with his once-unimpeachable legacy. If Bill Cosby is finished, what does that mean for Cliff, and the rest of the tribe called Huxtable?”

Earlier this year, former Cosby Show star Keshia Knight Pulliam argued the legacy of the popular ’80s sitcom is still strong despite the allegations leveled against Bill Cosby. “Ultimately, they’re just that, allegations,” she told Today.

“You can’t take back the impact that it’s had on generations of kids, and it’s continuing to have such a positive impact on them,” she said an interview with The Grio. “So I feel like the place that it has in people’s hearts is such a nostalgic part of childhood and beyond, it’s going to be difficult to take back those memories.”

However, Cosby Show costar Malcolm-Jamal Warner told the Associated Press that the groundbreaking series’ legacy is “tarnished.” 

“My biggest concern is when it comes to images of people of color on television and film, no matter what … negative stereotypes of people of color, we’ve always had The Cosby Show to hold up against that,” Warner said. “And the fact that we no longer have that, that’s the thing that saddens me the most, because in a few generations, the Huxtables will have just been a fairy tale.”

Since the allegations against Cosby began resurfacing in 2014, multiple networks have pulled The Cosby Show reruns from their schedules. Read the rest of the Ebony excerpt on the magazine’s website and pick up the November issue when it hits newsstands.

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