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If there’s any public figure that people are running from faster than Donald Trump, it’s Bill Cosby. The actor and comedian who has been accused of multiple counts of rape and has been left out in the cold by even his most ardent supporters. He’s now been cut from a new film that he had a large part in helping create.
Painted Down is a documentary about the history of black stunt men and women in Hollywood. After standing behind Cosby back in November, when the most recent allegations were fresh, Deadline reports that the film’s producers have now had to change their tune and cut Cosby from the piece. Producer Nonie Robinson had this to say:
We were the last project standing behind him, but now with Whoopi (Goldberg) and CAA pulling the plug, we must also disassociate and cut all ties with Cosby. It’s the right thing to do in light of the recent court deposition being made public.
In the deposition in question, Cosby reportedly admits to obtaining quaaludes for the purpose of giving them to women he wanted to sleep with. While some tried to take a wait and see approach with the allegations against Cosby, the deposition pushed many over the line. Whoopi Goldberg, who co-hosts The View with former Cosby co-star Raven-Symone, was one has only recently said that evidence is pointing to his guilt. Cosby’s talent agency, CAA, dropped him last year shortly after the accusations were made public.
While interview footage with Cosby is going to be taken out of Painted Down it doesn’t look like his presence will be completely removed from film. This makes some sense as it turns out it’s actually difficult to tell the story of the history of black stuntmen without him. While Cosby was filming I Spy back in the 1960’s he witnessed a white stuntman being "painted down" to look black in order to play him for stunts. Cosby objected and was able to get a black stuntman hired. As it turned out, there were few black stuntmen in Hollywood at the time, something Cosby didn’t realize, and this was the first time a lead actor had ever spoken out against what was a widespread practice. That single act by Cosby is credited with helping to create the Black Stuntmen’s Association and launching numerous new careers.
The producers of Painted Down are only the most recent to cut ties with Cosby following the allegations. NBC and Netflix both ended projects they were working on, and even reruns of The Cosby Show have been pulled off the air. These days the only way Bill Cosby is referenced is as a punchline.