Cosby accusers profiled in the latest issue of New York Magazine Photo: New York Magazine, Amanda Demme
It was the most powerful of statements: 35 victims of accused rapist Bill Cosby seated separately and starkly captured in black and white on the cover of New York Magazine. The accompanying stories from victims describe not only their personal trauma but their absolute rejection by a culture that just wouldn't listen, that wasn't prepared to tarnish the image of a popular and beloved performer and international icon. Bill Cosby was above reproach - but not any more.
On the same day one of Australia's most crushable and exciting new talents, Orange is the New Black star Ruby Rose posted an image to Instagram. Professional boxer and confirmed violent abuser of women, Floyd Mayweather Jr, has his arm draped around her shoulders. Rose, with her thumb pointing towards him in a gesture of appreciation and approval, captioned the photo "the champ!"
Unlike Cosby whose crimes remained hidden, unreported or ignored for decades Mayweather is a serial batterer of women whose crimes are well and truly on the public record. Mayweather has had at least seven assaults against five women that resulted in arrest or citations in addition to other episodes in which the police were called but no charges filed. Just one example of his crimes is a 2001 attack on the mother of his children where he struck her in the face with a car door before repeatedly punching her in the head.
Like Bill Cosby did for most of his career, Mayweather has received little-to-no professional ramifications as a result of his crimes. Quite the opposite in fact: he is an undefeated world champion and the highest paid athlete in the world.
What does it take for the Bill-Cosby-effect to take place? How do we get to the tipping point where the mainstream media and the public appropriately recognise and punish powerful public personalities who defile women? In Cosby's case it was a stand-up routine by Hannibal Buress that kick-started the media critiques and emboldened victims to come forward and at last be heard.
These events are described far more eloquently by alleged Cosby victim Victoria Valentino in NY Mag, "I went online one morning, just to check my email. The Yahoo page came up, and there was something about Cosby, this thing with Hannibal Buress. And all of a sudden, something just hit me. Anger. Son of a bitch! You know, a woman can be not believed for 30 years. But it takes one man? To make a joke about it? That fucking pissed me off so bad. Suddenly I'm thinking, Who do I contact?"
Is alerting Hannibal Buress a functional model for exposing violent crimes? No, it is not. But despite a robust community on social media that call these men out, and a host of brilliant reporters and (mostly feminist) websites that continually ask 'why?' we still have an entirely disturbing blind spot when it comes to allowing male abusers to remain in the public eye.
The expose of Bill Cosby should remind us there are plenty of high profile men that are accused of - and in many cases charged with - violent crimes against women; and audiences simply should no longer tolerate them. If we treat these men the way we are treating Cosby then it will show we truly are listening to the victims and their stories.
Seven other men the public arena could do without:
1. Chris Brown
There is perhaps no greater example of the short term memory we have for celebrities who commit heinous violent crimes than Chris Brown. A few days before the Grammy Awards in 2009 he brutally assaulted his then girlfriend Rihanna - pummelling her face while holding her in a headlock. Three years later the Grammy's hosted his "comeback performance". He's released four albums since the attack, been nominated for 12 Grammys, 10 Billboards and five MTV music awards. Just this week he released a new track with Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill.
2. Terry Richardson
Scandal-plagued celebrity photographer Terry Richardson has had two law suits filed against him (both since settled) in which models he worked with accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior, sexual assaults and exploiting young female models. Last year another model, Charlotte Waters, blogged about her harrowing experience working with Richards, including having his assistant ejaculate in her face. There are a multitude of complaints against the photographer (including "as many as nine" models from his 2004 book Terryworld). This story strangely echoes the Cosby case in that Richardson's aggressive public dismissal of all accusations has meant the victims' stories have largely been ignored.
3. Mike Tyson
One-time world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was convicted of brutally raping an 18-year-old woman in 1992. Off the back of popular performances in the Hangover movies, he is now the star of a new cartoon detective series. He has also since performed a sold-out, one-man show on Broadway and makes regular TV appearances on chat shows like Jimmy Kimmel.
4. Woody Allen
"What's your favorite Woody Allen movie?" Dylan Farrow, daughter of Woody Allen asked in an open letter to the New York Times last year, "before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. Then he sexually assaulted me." Allen, who denies the allegations, was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, just weeks after this letter was published.
5. Christian Slater
One-time teen heartthrob Christian Slater is experiencing a classic Hollywood comeback this year after scoring the lead role in acclaimed new series Mr Robot. His career wasn't affected after being sentenced to three months in prison in 1997 for assaulting his then-girlfriend Michelle Jonas or a later charge for sexually harassing a woman on the street in in Manhattan in 2005.
6. Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen has a history of domestic abuse too long to detail here but Jezebel have created a detailed timeline. It includes allegedly trying to strangle – and in one case shoot at – his ex-partners. All the while enjoying plum movie and TV roles including his recently concluded series, Anger Management.
7. Floyd Mayweather
And finally, the aforementioned Floyd Mayweather, the celebrated boxer with a disturbing history of violence against women. Imagine for a moment his victims; lined-up, seated and fixing you with their stare on the cover of a magazine. The best way to show all of these victims that they are being heard is to treat these men the way we are treating Bill Cosby - to publically condemn their actions and remove them from their privileged positions in public life.