Blog Post #4: Bill Cosby Findings

By: Meredith Ward

6358791836146480831571443913_bill-cosby before allegations article

My research team initially decided to do our research paper on Bill Cosby, the sexual allegations made against him and his shift in image that occurred thereafter. We chose Cosby due to the amount of media coverage and the responses that were made during his case and the way his positive reputation completely shifted to become negative.

Cosby, who was once identified as the most popular comedian on television is now forever seen as a “rapist.” He was accused by over 40 women of rape, facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child abuse and sexual misconduct over the entirety of his acting career.

We decided to begin our research with three questions that follow:

  • What strategies did Bill Cosby use to attempt to repair his image as a result of the scandal?
  • How effective were the image repair strategies that Bill Cosby used?
  • Did Cosby’s use of silence benefit or harm his attempts at image repair?

The first question is important for our research to find out which strategies Cosby used to discover if he was attempting to repair his image. The second question specifically helps us discover the effectiveness of his strategies and finally, the third question helps us conclude whether or not Cosby’s use of strategic silence was beneficial in the end.

Included in our research are the image repair strategies and tactics introduced by Benoit such as, denial, evasion of responsibility, reduction of offensiveness, corrective action and mortification.

According to Cosby’s case though, we can conclude that he used simple denial, minimization, strategic silence, attacking the accuser and bolstering. Cosby uses simple denial when he chose to deny all sexual assault allegations. He uses minimization when he continued to live his daily life, then he uses strategic silence by not responding to allegations in certain interviews. Cosby moves further and attacks his accusers by attacking the credibility of the women who were accusing him. Lastly, Cosby uses the bolstering strategy when he tried to bolster his own image on social media by using memes and encouraging others to do the same.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 9.20.55 PM

According to Oshmyansky 2014, simple denial and strategic silence were used when Cosby’s lawyer spoke for him and said, “Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives.”

In the case of accusing the attacker, Cosby responded to the allegations and coverage by saying, “I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy does not have to answer to innuendos. People should fact-check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and answer to innuendos” (Nunez, 2014).

Cosby continued to use Benoit’s strategies by using hashtags with his tweets to deny the accusations. For example, #YAHOO!, #JournalistGetsItRight, #MoreGreatNews. In addition to the previously mentioned strategies, Cosby and his team created memes in hopes of bolstering his image but it backfired when fans used it against him.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 9.48.14 PM.png

After much research, my team concluded that Bill Cosby, the once famous comedian on national television is unfortunately seen as a man guilty of a numerous amount of sexual assaults. Considering the strategies he chose to use and the way he used them and also the strategies he forgot to use such as, mortification, we can conclude that Cosby ineffectively used the image repair strategies and tactics developed by Benoit and therefore, ruined his once positive image for forever.


Image Repair: Bill Cosby

My group chose to write our Image Repair research paper about longtime actor and comedian, Bill Cosby. We specifically chose Bill Cosby as our image repair celebrity, primarily because his scandal is very recent, interesting and contains a wide range of information provided about his scandal.

Cosby was a well-known and favored actor and comedian from the mid-1960’s to the mid-2000’s yet many women accusers agreed to testify against him in a lawsuit in 2005. Cosby’s scandal spread like wildfire as a large number of sexual allegations were continuously made against Cosby by 16 women who accused him of sexual abuse and 12 of those accused Cosby of drugging first before he abused them.


I personally wanted to do research about Bill Cosby’s scandal because I remember watching his comedy show when I was younger. I honestly did not watch his show a lot, but I enjoyed it when I did watch it and I never expected Bill Cosby, the “looked-up-to” father to ever be in any kind of scandal. I am most interested to participate in the image repair research for Bill Cosby because I genuinely want to know every little detail about this scandal and have a better understanding of what actually happened including the accusations made by the victims, the information that was headlined on the news and the way in which Cosby chose to respond to the victims and the public eye as a whole.

The video link below shares about the image issues of Bill Cosby and provides insight of what is most important and what is needed most in order to repair Cosby’s image according to the entirety of his scandal.




Goals and Objectives



February 13, 2017

As soon as I found out my group was working with and creating a campaign for Animal Birth Control Clinic, I was excited. Though, to tell you the honest truth, I was even more excited when I found out who was in my group.

We are a driven group of people who admire the mission of ABC and we want to do everything we possibly can to help them be successful. I love our dynamic because we equally balance our strengths and weaknesses. Carly is our lead contact who had the privilege of interning with Animal Birth Control last semester. With her recent experience and already existing connections, we have the ability to meet needs, retrieve necessary information and develop a solid campaign that will enhance the way ABC responds if an unexpected fire were to occur in the near future. Hector’s strengths are writing and design, Amanda is a skillful writer and planner, Carly will research the majority of our information and I will focus more on the design aspect to develop a theme and show consistency throughout our campaign. With all of our strengths working together, we will create the most informative and unique campaign for our class project this semester.


The core problem we have addressed for our campaign is that if an unexpected fire were to occur in the clinic, who would be the first to be contacted, where would the animals be taken for shelter and most importantly, how would ABC ethically respond in order to maintain a steady and recommendable reputation from their customers and the entire community.

We have carefully followed the class schedule from the beginning of this semester until now  have also accomplished the SWOT Analysis, our organization’s history, research for our background essay, a mission statement, a campaign situational analysis and the goals and objectives for ABC.


Meredith Ward

Animal Birth Control: Waco


January 18, 2017

Nearly two weeks ago, my team drove to ABC Clinic to meet and retrieve more information necessary for our non-profit campaign. As soon as we walked in the front door, I felt so welcomed. There were many people who greeted us with smiles and immediately assisted us. The atmosphere was already inviting with the large amount of dogs that filled the waiting room.

After a few short minutes had passed Carrie Kuehl, the Executive Director and Gina Johnson, the Project Manager walked up to us and introduced themselves. I was very impressed by the way they carried themselves and treated us because they were extremely polite and respectful. We briefly discussed our campaign strategies and goals before they happily invited us to go on a tour around the clinic. I was surprised at such a kind gesture because walking into the clinic that day, I was only expecting to sit down and discuss ideas for the campaign project then leave shortly after that. They lead us into the holding room where all of the dogs were kept in their kennels until it was time for them to be spayed or neutered. We then were allowed to walk into the surgery room where we saw two cats being neutered. After this, we were able to see the recovery room and the holding room for all of the cats. I have never witnessed anything like I did that day, but am thankful for the opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes of an incredible non-profit business here in Waco, Texas.

Carrie and Gina gave us a very warm welcome and informed us of a strong idea and additional details to base our semester-long project off of that have already helped us be successful in our Media Programming class. I can honestly say now that the Animal Birth Control Clinic of Waco exceeded my expectations by not only making me, but the rest of my team feel special and welcomed that day we visited. First blog post


3238 Clay Avenue