Controversial 'Cosby' Bio Won't Get New Editions

Publisher Simon & Schuster is going to let author Mark Whitaker's book go out of print without adding info about the sexual assault allegations against the comedian.
Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Mark Whitaker’s Cosby is about to become a collector’s item.

Simon & Schuster vice president and executive director of publicity Cary Goldstein told the Associated Press that it would not publish a paperback edition of the controversial biography of the comedian. He added that the hardcover and e-book would not be updated to include information about the dozens of sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby that have become public in the last year.

Whitaker, a former Newsweek editor and open Cosby fan, wrote the generally positive biography of the famed comedian without exploring the already percolating allegations that Cosby had repeatedly drugged and sexually assaulted women in the 1970s and 1980s.

The book arrived to generally favorable reviews. The Hollywood Reporter published an excerpt that focused on the death of Cosby’s son, Ennis.

But the startling lack of attention to the charges brought criticism from comedian Hannibal Buress and THR’s Kim Masters in an interview with Whitaker. And after the book's publication many more women came forward with claims that Cosby assaulted them.

New York Times columnist David Carr pointed out that the media (including himself) had long given Cosby a free pass on the charges. In response, Whitaker admitted on Twitter he should have pursued the charges more vigorously. Ta-Nehisi Coates also apologized for not pursuing the charges more seriously in an Atlantic profile.

At the time, Whitaker said he would include information about the sexual assault allegations in a new edition of the book, but since the beginning of 2015, he has remained silent.

Most recently, a THR story about the publisher continuing to use favorable quotes from David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld led both comedians to ask that their comments to be withdrawn. Simon & Schuster then pulled all the celebrity blurbs.

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