Earlier this week, former Cosby Show star Keshia Knight-Pulliam maintained that the show’s legacy holds strong despite the numerous sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby. But Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who played Cosby’s son on the show, feels differently: The musician and actor told the Associated Press the show’s legacy is now “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.”
Warner previously addressed the Cosby allegations in January, telling Billboard, “the Bill Cosby I know has been great to me and great for a lot of people.”
“What he’s done for comedy and television has been legendary and history-making,” Warner said at the time. “What he’s done for the black community and education has been invaluable. That’s the Bill Cosby I know. I can’t speak on the other stuff.”
Back in July, Cosby Show producer Tom Werner also said the show’s reputation had been sullied, but remained optimistic about its future: “Certainly it’s a challenge right now,” Werner said. “But I’m hoping that time will pass and that all the great acting and the great stories and the memorable moments will still be able to be viewed.”
Twenty-seven of Cosby’s alleged victims will appear on a Dateline special this Friday, where they will, according to a press release, share their “personal recollections of assault, betrayal, and emotional distress.” The special, titled The Cosby Accusers Speak, airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.