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If you, like millions of other Americans, were watching Scandal on Thursday night, you might have noticed that a storyline hit a little close to home, if home is entertainment news . The episode partly centers on Frank Holland, a college professor accused of drugging and raping a bunch of women, and many have wondered if this was Shonda Rhimes’ take on Bill Cosby in something of a “ripped from the headlines” approach. The simple answer: No, it wasn’t.
Not so surprisingly, when Rhimes got wind of that assumption lurking around her fanbase, she had some magnificently straightforward words to put those assumptions to rest. Here they are, according to EW:
I don’t need the Cosby scandal to inspire me to tell a story about rape. As if that is the only instance in which rape is relevant. Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every two minutes. Every two minutes. Let’s not diminish or insult the stories of these survivors by suggesting that I could only decide to tell a story about rape because of a celebrity scandal.
Just in case you missed that, Rhimes not only cut down anyone who thought she was basic enough to resort to headline stories in order to get her material, but she also shined a light on all of the victims that aren’t getting legal or emotional justice because their attackers weren’t famous. There was room to cut Cosby down as well, but she didn’t take it.
So that’s the official version, but it’s obvious to anyone paying attention that there were more than just a few coincidental details that tied “Even the Devil Deserves a Second Chance” to Cosby’s controversial history. The episode centered on a former student accusing her old professor of drugging and raping her, so the relationship between victim and predator aren’t exactly the same here at least. Somebody check the casting call to make sure it didn’t call for a “storytelling former sitcom star with a fondness for brand name gelatin.”
For one thing, the one victim becomes a whole host of them once women get the courage to come forward. It’s referred to several times that he spent decades doing these despicable things and his reputation remained intact. Of course, Olivia Pope is going to be the person to get this dude behind bars, though life may not imitate that smoothness quite as well. But anyway, the guy in the episode was a winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as was Cosby, and it was one of the relatively few things not taken away from the comedian after the allegations began. Rhimes & Co. could have probably changed that to something else if they really didn’t want to conjure up Cosby thoughts.
What do you guys think? Will next week’s episode reflect on one of the many high-profile crimes that happened over the past six months, or is Shonda Rhimes not interested in doing that kind of thing? Scandal airs every Thursday night on ABC.