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Here is why Bill Cosby's meme experiment went horribly awry last night

Let’s just say it didn’t go according to plan.

LAST NIGHT, VETERAN comedian Bill Cosby invited his 3.93 million followers on Twitter to visit his website and make a Bill Cosby meme.

billcosby Source: Megan Specia/Twitter

What ensued was a social media fail of epic proportions. Here’s why.

What’s the story?

Art Bill Cosby Source: AP/Press Association Images

Back in 2006, Bill Cosby settled out of court with Andrea Constand, who claimed The Cosby Show star drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004.

Constand’s lawyers successfully rounded up 13 other women who were willing to testify to either being drugged or abused by Cosby, but none got to give testimony as the case was settled before the case reached that stage.

The allegations date back as far as the 1970s and while several of the women have chosen to remain anonymous, a number have given public interviews. One of the accusers, Barbara Bowman, recounted her alleged assault to People Magazine in 2006.

Before long she was alone with Cosby again in his Manhattan townhouse; she was given a glass of red wine, and “the next thing I know, I’m sick and I’m nauseous and I’m delusional and I’m limp and … I can’t think straight…. And I just came to, and I’m wearing a [men's] T-shirt that wasn’t mine, and he was in a white robe.”

Despite the settlement and the number of women that came forward, however, the allegations did little to harm Bill Cosby’s career.

As Gawker notes, he was honoured with the Mark Twain Prize in 2009 and the Marian Anderson Prize in 2010. He is also currently working on a sitcom set to air in autumn 2015.

So, why have these allegations surfaced again?

The Comedy Awards 2012 - New York Source: Charles Sykes

In October, comedian Hannibal Buress (Broad City, Saturday Night Live) was performing a set in Philadelphia during which he brought up the allegations.

It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the f**king smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches. ‘I don’t curse onstage.’ Well, yeah, you’re a rapist, so I’ll take you saying lots of motherf**kers on Bill Cosby: Himself, if you weren’t a rapist. I don’t know what I’m doing by telling you. I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns.

The clip was filmed and circulated around the internet with many prominent websites picking the clip up.

Source: ctownlegend88/YouTube

Buress was widely praised for his remarks, which helped bring the accusations back to the fore and led to articles in the likes of Buzzfeed, E! Online and Salon.

The New York Times even asked, “Has Hannibal Buress Changed The Way We Look At Bill Cosby?”

So what happened with the memes?

It totally backfired.

Instead of making memes referencing his trademark sweaters, Twitter users hijacked the hashtag #CosbyMeme to make memes that alluded to the rape allegations.

The meme generator was soon dismantled and the tweet was deleted, but many of the memes are still visible on Twitter.

Has Bill Cosby addressed any of this?

Doesn’t seem like it.

In an interview posted today on Philly.com, a journalist named Jenice Armstrong states that she brought up the Buress incident with Cosby who immediately shut it down.

Noooo, no, no, no. Look at the beauty of what we had here.

He declined to comment any further, but something tells us this won’t be the last we hear about all this.

Dapper Laughs dating show cancelled by ITV after outcry over rape jokes >

Peter Coonan found Love/Hate rape scene ‘hard to watch, but the scene made sense’ >

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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