Cosby abuse, New York Magazine cover

This New York Magazine cover, which was published in 2015, relates the story of 35 women who were sexually assaulted by actor and comedian Bill Cosby as far back as the 19060s. Although many of the women had previously spoken up about the assaults, it wasn’t until comedian Hannibal Buress discussed Cosby raping women that the situation garnered extensive news coverage. The cover story, “I’m No Longer Afraid,” provides an overview of the situation and interviews with the women who have come forward, all of whom recount what happened when they were assaulted. It preceded the cascade of accusations against Harvey Weinstein starting in fall 2017 that precipitated the #metoo movement in Hollywood and other industries.

discussion

How are the women pictured on the cover? What is visually significant about picturing all 35 women on a single cover?

Why did they choose to include an empty chair? What does it signify?

How do you think the cover story was received? Why do you think it spread so widely on social media (and caused the magazine’s website to shut down because of an overabundance of traffic)?

One of the women who was assaulted commented that it was difficult for her to listen to people discuss Cosby’s work positively after her experience. Do you think we should view the work that someone does differently if they have committed an act of sexual violence? Why or why not?