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Why Bill Cosby Told Lisa Bonet He Took His Kids To See “Art-Porn” Film, ‘Last Tango In Paris’

According to Bonet, he deliberately took his children to see 'Last Tango In Paris' because he considered it an important film.

By 1987 Lisa Bonet had been a household name for years, in the character of Denise Huxtable, the sardonic, elegant teen daughter in “The Cosby Show.” It surprised nobody when she broke into film that year, starring opposite Mickey Rourke in the hauntingly sexy horror-noir “Angel Heart.” She was then nineteen.

Given its explicit sexual and satanic themes, Bonet had concerns about the public’s reaction to the film, and she took them to her boss, Bill Cosby, who played her father, Cliff Huxtable, in the family-friendly hit show. He was “very supportive, and remained so,” she said in 1987, even when she warned him about “Angel Heart’s” initial X rating. According to Bonet, Cosby “didn’t take it seriously,” adding that he deliberately took his children to see “Last Tango In Paris” because he considered it an important film.

“The Cosby halo has slipped,” she said.

This story is striking now, and not only in light of the dozens of allegations of sexual assault against Cosby — more than 50 women, at the time of writing, have come forward with frighteningly similar stories of meeting Cosby in private and waking up many hours later, disoriented, drugged, their clothes disordered or missing, and/or their bodies physically violated. For those who came of age in the 1980s these allegations were nearly incredible at first; “America’s Dad”— the creator of that preachiest of sitcoms, universally celebrated for easing racial tensions with his portrait of a lovable, perfectly ordinary upper-middle-class black American family — the beloved pitchman for Jello Pudding Pops — a sexual predator?!

Cliff Huxtable would never in a million years have taken his kids to see “Last Tango,” an art-porn featuring the anal rape of a woman played by the late Maria Schneider, then nineteen. In 2004 Schneider told the Guardian that the film had ruined her life, and that she considered the director, Bernardo Bertolucci, “‘a gangster and a pimp’ who’d taught her a harsh lesson: ‘Never take your clothes off for a middle-aged man who claims that it’s art.'”

And another thing: “Last Tango” came out in 1972, at which point Cosby had three children, ages 7, 6 and 3; we can assume, I guess, that he arranged or attended a private screening with them at some point after its release. Which — I don’t know. Even in 1987, Cosby’s kids were 22, 21, 18, 14 and 11. So… little as I like to judge anybody else’s parenting strategies, I can’t help noting that that is just a very weird-sounding family evening, especially for a professional moralizer whose stock-in-trade was “family values.” And yet the “Last Tango” remark was reported spang in the middle of the newspaper, without an eyebrow raised.

But. Cliff Huxtable is not a real person; however much we may love him, he is like a Potemkin representation, or even more, like the scoop of mashed potatoes that food stylists often use to represent ice cream during photo shoots. Looks so fantastic! Looks better than the real thing, in fact. So superficially perfect. So completely inedible.

It bears reflecting constantly on the comfortably bulletproof fictions behind which the powerful may be hiding terrible things. They are surrounding us on all sides. “America’s Dad” was so named because of the goofy but ultimately wise and steadfast Huxtable, the ideal fictional man providing the moral cover for the real, necessarily less excellent one. Because our love for the ideal can and will be exploited by the unscrupulous, if they possibly can. As the trial begins Monday morning, I imagine we will be hearing a lot about the Huxtable side of Cosby, the decades of “moral leadership” and the millions in charitable donations (those millions at least are real, unlike certain other charitable donations I could name). But how much will remain of Huxtable in a few weeks’ time is an open question.

[Bonet interview: Portman, Jamie. The Vancouver Sun; Vancouver, B.C. 27 Feb 1987: H2.]

This article was originally published on Death and Taxes.

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What We Know About R. Kelly's Sexual Abuse Charges

R. Kelly was indicted on 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on Friday (Feb. 22). During a press conference held late Friday afternoon, prosecutors detailed each of the charges. R. Kelly's case involves four alleged victims, almost all of which were under the age of 17 at the time of sexual contact.

Here is what we know so far.

1. The first victim is identified by the initials HW, who is believed to have had sexual relations with Kelly from May 1998 to 1999. The charge was determined by the fact that during the time of their sexual encounters, HW was under the age of 17 while Kelly is alleged to have been more than five years older.

2. RL is the second victim that has been identified by prosecutors, who is believed to have been sexually involved with R. Kelly from 1998 to 2001. RL was believed to be under the age of 17, while Kelly was at least five years older.

3. The third victim, identified as LC engaged in sexual intercourse on Feb. 2003. The count was determined by semen found on the body for the purpose of "sexual gratification."

4. The fourth and final victim, identified under the initials JP, was involved in sexual incidents with the accused from 2009 to 2010. The charge was determined by JP being under the age of 17 while R. Kelly was believed to more than five years older.

5. If convicted, Kelly faces up to 70 years in prison.

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New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Reportedly Charged For Soliciting Prostitution In Florida

Owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, is reportedly being accused of two counts of soliciting prostitution in two separate instances at a Florida day spa, CNN reports.

In a recent press conference, Police Chief Daniel Kerr stated that Kraft’s charges stem from two separate visits he made to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla. However, a spokesperson for the NFL team denied all the charges against Kraft. "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further," the organization said.

Local authorities still confirm that the accusation is in conjunction with recent events that have taken place at the establishment, which also accused 20 other people of the same crime. According to Kerr, there is video evidence. The authorities involved in the crackdown revealed they wore body cameras during the operation.

Additionally, the police were involved in constant surveillance of the location. Authorities said they're not planning to release any video footage or documented evidence as of yet.

Kraft has been the owner of the Patriots since 1994. Further details for this story are pending.

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Tidal Announces Tidal Unplugged Program For Upcoming Artists

The Jay-Z owned streaming service is launching Tidal Unplugged, a program geared toward rising artists. The program has been bestowed with a $1 million fund, courtesy of its donors, venture capitalists and philanthropists, Mark Lampert and Robert Nelsen. The goal of the program is to gather emerging artists and provide them with support and tools to advance their music careers.

The selected, local artists will begin the program in Detroit, where Lampert's grandfather started his music career and will receive a grant that can cover necessary equipment, time in the studio, as well as living expenses amongst other things. There are plans to expand Unplugged to other locations, but as of right now it's solely in the Motor City.

"Kicking it off in Detroit, we're giving artists the means and resources to pursue their passion," Tidal said about Unplugged. "This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows aspiring musicians to dedicate more time and energy to seeking a career as an artist."

Unplugged will also allow the artists to maintain complete ownership of their recording masters from the four songs they will record when they make it to the first stage of the program. Additionally, Tidal plans to help the musicians with the distribution and promotion of their music, as well as help the artists prepare for a TIDAL Unplugged showcase concert later this year in November.

 

Detroit, welcome to TIDAL Unplugged. Up-and-coming artists are getting the opportunity to give their all to their music with our new artist grant program. Submissions open March 1. https://t.co/krL3l8HHGg pic.twitter.com/w30fElrp6N

— TIDAL (@TIDAL) February 21, 2019

Tidal Unplugged is calling for musicians of all genres in the birthplace of Motown Records, however, the announcement states that all submissions must be a cappella or performed acoustically with minimal use of digital components.

Detroit-area artists can apply for the program on Tidal's official website or here, starting on March 1, 2019. Finalists will be announced in May 2019.

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