​Bill Cosby Twitter campaign completely backfires after rape accusations

Actor Bill Cosby (Reuters / Eric Thayer)
Here’s a lesson that will forever be remembered now: If someone has had multiple rape accusations leveled against them over the course of a decade, perhaps they should think twice before asking the internet to form a meme around their personality.

Actor Bill Cosby learned that lesson the hard way this week, when he posted a picture of himself on Twitter and asked users to “meme” him.

Of course, the entire thing backfired spectacularly.

Soon after Cosby’s tweet went live, the #CosbyMeme hashtag was flooded with critical posts. The original goal was surely to generate light, wholesome fun, but instead the posts that ended up making the most noise featured allegations that Cosby raped numerous women over the past few decades.

One tweet showed the famed actor and Jello spokesman wearing headphones, featuring by the sentence: “Now I can’t hear you say ‘no.’”

Another pointed out that more than a dozen women have accused him of sexual assault.

At some point during the whole fiasco, user-generated memes ended up having to go through an authorization process. According to the New York Post, the meme generator even started deleting words like “rape” and “sex” when they were used. But dedicated users still found clever ways around the obstacle.

According to the New York Post, Cosby’s original tweet was deleted and the meme generator it linked to was removed entirely.

The burst in Twitter activity was followed by a Washington Post op-ed in which Barbara Bowman reiterated her rape accusations against Cosby. She also questioned why her allegations were not taken seriously until a man – comedian Hannibal Buress – called Cosby a rapist during a routine last month. That piece quickly went viral and brought the issue into the headlines all over again.

“I’ve been telling my story publicly for nearly 10 years,” Bowman wrote. “While I am grateful for the new attention to Cosby’s crimes, I must ask my own questions: Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward?”

For his part, Cosby has denied the charges against him. In a 2005 interview with U-T San Diego, the actor said he refused to be “exploited” because he is a celebrity.