HENdisgraced former PR guru Max Clifford was exposed as a sex offender, it was a scandal. But he had come across as an aggressive, unlikeable figure anyway – a man who might represent any other scoundrel for the right sum of money – and so there wasn’t huge surprise when the truth about him emerged.
There are other examples of sex criminals out of the world of celebrity, one of the most prominent being film director Roman Polanski, who has of course continued to fight his 1970s charges of five sex offences against a 13-year-old girl. But Polanski, like Clifford, is a man who could easily occupy a darker realm. Even his movie subjects have often tackled uncomfortable, fringe topics.
It’s a completely different affair with Bill Cosby, the man the world surely accepts as its most famous TV dad. Anyone who watched his cult show – which was popular here during apartheid, Cosby being able to exceed even those cultural restrictions – remembers his great humour in the face of parental adversity.
And so news that sex offences allegations out of his past may finally be coming back to extract justice, shocks us far more than most others.
If kind, funny, human Bill Cosby could commit such crimes, who else is capable?