It’s Time For Ben’s Chili Bowl To Do The Right Thing – Take Down the Bill Cosby Mural

1213 U Street, NW

We’ve talked about this before but given the recent news I think it’s time for a straight up call to Ben’s. And especially because this mural is so prominent on U Street (not to mention only a few years old) – it’s embarrassing. But worse than that, I can only imagine how victims of sexual assault feel when they walk by it. It should be taken down period. There may not be precedent in doing so but it’s still the right thing to do. Think they should? Think they will? I’m sure there are many candidates more deserving of this space – how about a return of Duke Ellington to U Street?

164 Comment

  • I’m sure it sucks for them: I have happy memories of Cos, too, and all I know is just from watching the show and some old standup, but it has to go. I can’t look at the mural without feeling a combination of sad and skeeved. What a bummer. I really respected the guy. I guess this is how penn state fans felt? Ugh.

    • well, except with PSU, the team, University, and Commonwealth all covered up the crimes for years. Did people cover for Cosby or just not believe the victims?

      • What are you talking about? Obviously dozens, if not hundreds, of people helped cover for Cosby over the years.

      • Penn State fans didn’t feel like this, a complely different story. With Penn State many of the acts were reported over the course of a decade but there was not enough evidence to convict. PSU did paint over the Sandusky mural and ban his ice cream from the creamery.

      • Yes, these allegations have been around since the 80s. But since Cosby was a huge star, his people were able to bully the women into keeping quiet about it.

      • Yeah, so no one at PSU has been convicted of a cover up either. In fact, there is ZERO evidence to suggest a cover up. Hopefully all this information will come out during the trials, but the media made the PSU story into something it is not.

        • Yes, the most powerful man in the state, stated under oath that he did not know “a man could rape another man” as a defense why he didn’t think the child raping was such a big deal.

          Let’s not forget he was a devout Catholic, so apparently he was completely oblivious to the largest religious scandal this country has ever seen.

          • Completely oblivious… which is why he reported it.

          • Aaron, no offense, but you don’t know what you are talking about here.

            The DA that successfully prosecuted Sandusky praised Paterno for his cooperation, and later confirmed that there was no evidence of him being involved in a cover up.

            The other adminstrators’ “cover up” including: 1) telling lots of people, 2) reporting it to CYS, 3) Not attempting to keep the eye witness quiet, 4) Not making sure to get their cover up stories straight when they had to testify 10 years later. Yep, sounds like a cover up to me.

        • “Yeah, so no one at PSU has been convicted of a cover up either.” — No, they haven’t, but it’s disingenuous to suggest, as you did, that they have been acquitted. They are appealing an adverse ruling by the rial judge regarding the fairness of the grand jury proceedings.
          “but the media made the PSU story into something it is not” — Not so much the media, but former FBI director Louis Freeh.
          Lemme guess – you’re an alum?

          • I am an alumnus, which is why I’ve paid such close attention to this.

            The media was running with a false narrative before the Freeh report came out, but the Freeh report didn’t help. Feel free to google Freeh’s career and all of it’s major missteps if you want to know how “valuable” that report it.

            If you look at the facts of the case and the charges against the administrators, you will see that there is something very fishy going on. Among other problems with the OAG’s case is that one of the charges is ex post facto, which is un-Constitutional AND the state refuses to tell the accused the dates when the alleged crimes occurred. Imagine being charged with a crime, but not told when you supposedly did this. Unbelievable.

            Finally, the adverse ruling you refer to just had a setback (for the state) yesterday as a judge ruled that Baldwin couldn’t testify.

          • The majority of the initial damage was done my major news outlets…… Mainly espn which ran with the story like the sky was falling and turned the whole debacle into a giant witch hunt. Now all of the sanctions have been reversed and everyone that jumped to conclusions to pump up ratings and falsely report the story feels like sh#t!

          • Regardless, the entire scandal has done irreparable damage to PSU’s reputation, in terms of both academics and athletics. It will be a very, very long time before they can recruit either faculty or athletes at the level they were accustomed to, before the scandal.

          • Clearly you don’t keep up on either academics (PSU is consistently rated among the best public universities in the US, and in the top 50 overall), nor on football recruiting (PSU currently has the #6 rated recruiting class).

  • He hasn’t been convicted of anything. It’s a free country. If the owners want to keep the mural up, let them.

    • That’s fine, let them keep it up. I can do without eating there until then, and I hope a lot of others take their business elsewhere, too.

      • Could not agree more. He’s basically guilty. Three dozen random women didn’t just get together and drum up this big conspiracy. The Cos is a horrible person.

    • Beyond the dozens of accusations, he did testify under oath that he procured drugs for the purpose of drugging women for sex. Not sure how much more you want before you stop glorifying a rapist with a building size mural.

    • Nobody is talking about forcing them to take it down. There’s a difference between legal and ethical.

    • There’s a big difference between factual guilt and procedural guilt in a court of law. There are plenty of people who committed crimes but were never found guilty in a criminal trial. OJ Simpson is the best example.

      Even though there hasn’t been a trial, chances are very good that Cosby is guilty as sin.

    • I’m sorry (maybe not) but the sentiment of the first two sentences as it applies to nearly everything is stupid.
      People are 100% allowed to form their own opinions about things regardless of what the justice system has or hasn’t done. The justice system determines if you are guilty in the eyes of the state. Innocent people are found guilty, guilty people are found innocent, and both innocent and guilty parties sometimes settle out of court, clearly one has to form their own opinions, not rely on the state like a drooling flag thumping simpwit.
      No one is talking about locking Bill Cosby in jail for his last years on Earth without a conviction. If people want to pressure this business to take down that mural they can certainly do so, its a free country. I think there are probably much more important issues people could be crusading for or against, and am personally not a fan of trying to erase all evidence of admiration for fallen stars (there are so many, it is exhausting), to me its about as mature as cutting exes out of pictures. I don’t even understand the adulation he got, I don’t find him funny.

    • Too bad the court of public opinion doesn’t agree. It’s hypocritical but if dozens of people accuse you of something it doesn’t matter whether you’re innocent or guilty.

    • And he won’t be convicted of anything because of how the law is set up currently around rape (hello, time for a change). Don’t kid yourself or be delusional. He is guilty of non-consental sex.

    • Yeah I don’t think anyone is talking about legally requiring Ben’s to take it down.

    • You really don’t understand what “it’s a free country” actually means, do you? Sure, they can keep it up. But it doesn’t mean that people can’t discuss the matter, or even criticize them for it.

    • saf

      Indeed. But I actually love their food, and the family. But I find the mural distasteful, and would prefer not to eat there while it remains.

      Or at their other properties.

  • Sandusky was painted over in a large mural near campus after the scandal broke at Penn State.

    • Sandusky was convicted of crimes.

      • Based on the facts, I’m pretty sure they would have painted over the mural even if it never went to trial. Painting over the mural wasn’t issued by the court system.

  • We shouldn’t summarily judge people based on their worst qualities and most shameful acts. And we shouldn’t erase history every time it gets complicated and uncomfortable. Mr. Cosby had a long and distinguished career (far longer than most readers of this blog can appreciate), and his behavior with women, no matter how unseemly and illegal, should be seen as part of a complex life, with all its ups and downs. We all make mistakes, we all have secrets, and there are no saints among us. Those of us with a few years under our belt are, perhaps, a bit more forgiving of human foibles. I know that I am. A mural is not necessarily an honorific; it can be a source of discussion and reflection.

    • “..a bit more forgiving of human foibles.” Seriously? I can’t even. What he did was not some “opps” mistake NOR has he asked for forgiveness. We don’t need to have a mural for a source of discussion. People who tell jokes and are rapists should not be honored with a mural.

    • I think the problem here is one of vocabulary – in particular, that you are unclear about the meaning of certain words. First, no one is “summarily” judging Cosby – there are literally dozens of women who have accused him of sexual assault. Moreover, he has ADMITTED to purchasing Quaaludes to give to his victims. No, there hasn’t been a trial, but this is no rush to judgment.
      More egregious, however, is your misunderstanding of what constitutes a foible, which is defined as “a minor weakness or eccentricity in someone’s character.” Let me be blunt – being a serial rapist is neither a minor weakness nor an eccentricity. It is a horrific crime Cosby perpetrated on scores of victims over decades, using his power, influence and illegal drugs to sexually assault women.
      Of course the mural should come down. It boggles the mind that anyone would suggest that a mural of serial rapist should remain up.

      • +1 for dcd, beautifully said.

      • Has he been convicted of rape?

        • No, but on the technicality of statutes of limitations. If those weren’t hindering the process, we might be able to change that answer in short time. And if admitting under oath that he drugged women to have sex with them doesn’t make him guilty in your mind, you’re delusional.

        • HaileUnlikely

          The purpose of this discussion is not to establish whether the state should jail or execute him, it is to discuss whether we would like to see a local business owner cease to prominently honor him.
          It’s obviously up to the owners whether to keep the mural or not, and it’s obviously up to you whether to spend your money there or not.
          Related question: do they still have the sign inside that Bill Cosby eats for free there? (Haven’t been there in a while, for unrelated reasons)

          • +100 People seem to be missing this point of this poll. And I didn’t know they had that sign in there. Would LOVE to know the answer. Anyone have time to run over there today to check?

      • I think the quaaludes testimony has been over blown.

        If I said, I wanted to have sex with a woman. And then also said “I bought the woman a shot of tequila”, are you accusing me of planning to rape her? Because that would pretty much be the end of happy hour culture in DC.

        • That’s some impressive mental gymnastic effort at giving the creep a pass.
          If I gave a girl a compliment in the hopes she would like me and sleep with me? Am I an attempted rapist then? I mean, a compliment, a drink, a prescription strength sedative. Same diff, amirite?

        • If you are buying that woman a shot of tequila with the intention of getting her drunk beyond the ability to consent and then having sex with her, then yes maybe you are planning a rape.

          • Man I’m glad I never attended any of your fraternity parties.

          • As an aside, some jurisdictions have laws for rape by deception. If I tell a girl I’m a millionaire, or graduated from med school. with the hope that lie will make her sleep with me I could be charged with rape if we do sleep together and that lie was the basis of her decision.

          • “Man I’m glad I never attended any of your fraternity parties.”
            GDI’s like me throw the best parties…

    • ….Are you for real….????

    • Where to start on this one….I think people absolutely should be judged on their worst qualities and more shameful acts. You can’t just dismiss accusations of multiple rapes on the grounds that we all have our mistakes and secrets. Rape is not a speeding ticket.

      • Mr. Obama! Tear down that Jefferson Memorial! The man was a slave holding possible rapist (Hello? Ms. Hemings?)

        • +1 Interesting.

        • It’s not a terrible idea. There will come a day when people in this country will be ashamed of how we have honored so many people who kept other people in bondage. I guess we aren’t there yet.

        • Different time. If we go back far enough, almost everyone is a rapist, especially considering marital rape was not considered rape until very recently.

    • You’re right, I have made mistakes and I have secrets. Rape is not one of them.

    • “We shouldn’t summarily judge people based on their worst qualities and most shameful acts. ”

      We absolutely should.

      It doesn’t matter how many good things a person has done in their life. Despicable behavior outweighs them all.

      No amount of good acts can overcome bad acts like rape, murder, etc.

    • Accountering

      You’ve got to be kidding me. We shouldn’t judge people based on their worst acts?! So Cosby is a good guy despite raping dozens of women? Timothy McVeigh is a good guy despite killing hundreds of innocent people? OBL is a good guy…. ?!? You have to be kidding here.

    • If your worst acts are:
      -Procuring drugs for the purpose of raping dozens of women (that we know about, there are probably scores more who haven’t spoken up)
      -using the strength of your position to shame them into silence
      -deploying your wife and employees to smear the women who are brave enough to speak up about what you did to them
      -trying to present yourself as some moral paragon who is in a position to judge entire communities as lacking

      then YES, I am going to judge you as the misogynistic, sociopathic criminal that you are, no matter how many goofy sweaters you put on to make people laugh.

  • Yes, they should definitely remove it, but only if and after he goes to jail. If he’s not convicted of a crime then I suggest we stop overreacting to the PR band wagon that obsesses over celebrity culture. There are bigger fish to fry with Ben’s, like how they completely demolished a historic facade to build their new store against DCRA rules.

    • Lol to claiming the 30+ women is ‘overreacting’. What planet are you on? Get real.

    • Accountering

      You are saying a historic facade is a bigger issue than the fact they have a mural celebrating a known rapist?

      • I had to read that a couple of time, but that is precisely what he is saying. If I ever think that violating historic preservation rules is a bigger issue than rape, I should be locked up as non compos mentis. Not even textdoc has such a love of historic preservation!

        • I heard that!!
          I don’t think Huxtable is saying that historic preservation is a bigger issue than rape — I think his/her opinion is that Ben’s tearing down of a historic facade in H Street (in violation of their building permit) is a bigger deal than Ben’s not yet having taken action to change the existing mural. I’m inclined to agree. Ben’s will probably change the mural soon, and the first action (tearing down the facade) is an active one, and the second is a passive one (allowing something that was already there to remain).
          IMO, Ben’s should repaint that portion of the mural. It’s a little sad, because Cosby the artist achieved a lot and could warrant recognition on that account… but it has become abundantly apparent that Cosby the human being did terrible things and should not be celebrated.

      • Except that one of them just happened and actually affects people living in DC while the other happened decades ago and only requires a paintbrush to end the groaning.

    • Emmaleigh504

      FFS buildings are more important to you than people? Time to reevaluate your life choices.

  • I think that before just painting over it, it would be a good idea to ask the artist how they feel about it and if there is something they could do to change it. It’s a lovely mural and far too often people see outdoor art as something to be “whitewashed” over when the meaning has changed and fail to take into consideration the feelings of the artist and how they spent so much time and effort to represent something quite positive at the time.

    • Hire the artist to paint something else. Also, deciding to stop honoring with a mural a living person who is so morally reprehensible is not “whitewashing.”

  • Just to play Devils advocate… Can’t we recognize terrible people who still accomplished great things? Cosby provided a television show that helped normalize black families for people who lived in a bubble and were ignorant. He broke through barriers. At the same time, he’s probably a rapist.

    Since we all have a slave owner who was almost certainly brutal and unforgiving to his slaves, who were treated as sub human. We have a monument to another slave owner and streets and parks named after even more, and these are all issues of government endorsement.

    Why are we getting that bent out of shape over a Cosby mural on a hot dog stand?

    • “Since we all have a slave owner…as part of our address”. Somehow I left that out…

    • I think the difference is between recognizing and celebrating. A mural is a tribute that many don’t think he deserves. Everything you say about him normalizing black families is true, it’s a shame his legacy will be so tarnished. It doesn’t detract from what he accomplished but no one wants to celebrate the man.

      • I mean, I pretty much agree with you.., but how do we do that while maintaining intellectual honesty about the past american leaders who were practicing and advancing slavery.

        Cosby is a historical figure, too. He didn’t win the revolutionary war, but I’m having a hard time rectifying our celebration of slave owners with the rejection of a painting of a rapist.

        • justinbc

          It’s this magical thing called time. Those figures did not exist during our lifetimes, and neither did slavery, so it’s easier for us to disassociate who did what. You can also blame textbook writers, and politicians who would choose to put history in a more fantasized light. The difference is Cosby is happening now, and what he did was illegal when he did it (unlike slavery), but he’s just the beneficiary of nobody coming forward in a timeframe when he could be prosecuted for it.

        • The explanation that’s always been given to me, right or wrong, is that people are judged based on the norms of the time in which they lived. The shooting in Charleston though is creating a lot of (needed) introspection. In Alexandria they’re talking about taking down the Appomattox statue due to its connection to the Confederacy and civil war. I wouldn’t be surprised if more cities and states make similar moves down the road.

    • palisades

      You’re forgetting one small detail – context. What Washington or Jefferson did in their lifetimes was completely normal and part of life at the time. What Cosby did to those women wasn’t/isn’t/nor will ever be considered normal or part of life. He has been a serial rapist for decades, and deserves no good will.

      • +5000 I will never understand why so many people are willing to give his obviously predatory behavior a pass. Do they really find Cosby so much more credible than the many, many women telling stories which use the same MO-the MO that Cosby has already admitted under oath to using?

      • Agree that slavery was legal during their lifetimes and completely normal back then, but it is NOT considered to be normal and legal today. So are we to continue celebrating former slaveowners and admitted racists with holidays, memorials, etc if we are going to use the Cosby standard on a mural?

        • palisades

          You completely ignored the point of my comment. We have no power over our ancestors choices, especially considering it was normal for almost everyone back then to do what Washington and Jefferson did. We aren’t celebrating slaveowners, we are celebrating founders of the country.
          We are in the present, and can make the conscience decision to remove Cosby from public discourse, because he no longer deserves to be in it. If what he did was normal in the 80s, then maybe we would have to consider accepting him as an old kook or something, but what he did was never ok. I have no idea what the Cosby standard is.

      • John Adams was anti-slavery and normal enough to succeed GW. Anti-slavery sentiment was normal and part of life. Jefferson wrestled with it but his bank account won.

        Considering that you brought up the normality of slavery – and Jefferson in particular – it is patently false that serial rape has never been normal in America. It did not stop after Emancipation either.

    • I configured a browser extension to replace “play devil’s advocate” with “demonstrate I’m a massive asshole” and I’ve never been disappointed with the results.

    • Emmaleigh504

      You know what, when DOZENS of women are raped over DECADES and the rapist has a whole team of peopl helping him do and cover up the raping, there is no need to play devils advocate. We know he’s a rapist that used power and money to keep from getting caught. The statute of limitations means that he can’t be arrested for most the the rapes. There is no need to defend or play devils advocate for this piece of shit human.

      • +5000

      • So, I guess if we’re going to put Cosby on one side of the line, why arent all the people who did evil things that we gratuitously glorify through school names, road names, statues, holidays? Its bullshit to say “slavery was normal therefore we give them a pass”. Not to mention the raping and savagery that went hand in hand with slavery.

        Its easy to say Ben’s should stop honoring BIll Cosby because Bill Cosby is recent and less ingrained in our culture. But, dont you think the things that are more ingrained in our culture are even more important?

  • I personally would LOVE to see a Duke Ellington mural! I don’t have a whole lot to add to this discussion besides recommending this: If you haven’t read this yet, it’s wonderful – it’s from last November, so before some of the (even more) damning evidence of Cosby’s own testimony re: quaaludes came out, but it’s still relevant. It’s a blog post by biracial stand-up comedian Curtis Cook, and it eloquently sums up some of the angst we feel about people we used to admire, people who broke barriers and achieved so much, and yet have been revealed to have feet of clay.

  • This is, actually, why I spent a night this winter taking great photos of the mural that are now on file at an agency. It was evident back then that eventually this mural will have to change. But at least it is designed in a way that the entire mural would not have to be altered.

  • Was Duke Ellington a big fan of Ben’s Chili Bowl and I missed it?

    The reason Bill Cosby is on a mural at Ben’s is because he is a big fan of Ben’s and had made regular appearances there over the years, adding to the (deserved) cult like following Ben’s has in DC.

    Here’s my idea: paint it over and put Barack Obama and Michelle on it. Replace it with someone else who has made appearances at Ben’s. Duke Ellington doesn’t really make much sense.

    Also, isn’t the mural new? If you go to Google Street view, it isn’t even on the side of the building.

  • This is one of my pet peeves. Not every piece of street art is a mural. This is not a mural. This is simply a small portrait on the side of a building.

    If it is a mural, it’s the world’s smallest one.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      There are multiple portraits that together are a mural.

    • A mural doesn’t have to be big. It has to be painted directly on a wall.

    • Well, first of all, a mural is defined as simply “a work of art executed on a wall.” It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. So strictly speaking, even a small portrait on a wall is a mural. But regardless of that, this photo is only showing part of the mural. It actually extends further back:

      • Merriam-Websters says that a mural is “a usually large painting that is done directly on the surface of a wall.”

        I didn’t realize the painting extended further back, but to me the fact that the painting stops at around 10 feet in height and does not cover the wall makes it a non-mural.

        I guess many people would say this is a mural but to me the word mural makes me think big.

        • “Usually” does not equal always. Just because this doesn’t fit with your idea of a mural doesn’t mean it isn’t one.

    • HaileUnlikely

      We’re having a serious discussion about whether or not a prominent local business owner should be honoring a rapist, and somebody interjects to argue about vocabulary. Go PoPville! Go DC!

  • Can we all just calm down a little bit? Can we let Ben’s make that decision?

    I despise what Cosby is accused of, but I am going to cling to the justice system to resolve this because it is the only fair system where we have rules and order. Instead of that, there is the moral rectitude of “social justice” that is based purely on what the popular opinion is. That is a truly scary thing to behold. If only popular opinions and people are allowed, then how much more are we going to censor to placate every new mob that appears?

    Far too often in liberalism we want to fix something before getting all the facts together, the Duke Lacrosse and UVA rape case are two high profile examples. If there is enough to convict Cosby, great go ahead and do it so we can put this man in jail for being a rapist. In the mean time, this is a lot of chanting for death from the safety of a rooftop. There is no risk to call for the economic or social destruction of another and it is unfortunately becoming too easy.

    • There are 37 women accusing him of rape. Thirty. Seven. Yeah, you’re right. We wouldn’t want to rush to judgement.

      The justice system you’re referring to won’t work in this case as most of the accusers are beyond the statute of limitations, but thanks for coming out.

      • Whoopi Goldberg and others here need a little lesson that “innocent until proven guilty” and “due process” deal with one’s legal rights – i.e., your rights that must be respected by the government. (Not relevant here, but folks also misunderstand the First Amendment — it does not protect everyone’s right to say what they want without repercussions, but rather prohibits the GOVERNMENT from restricting your free speech.) Citizens requesting that a business that they spend money with disassociates with and stops celebrating a figure that is accused by 37 women of rape has nothing to do with that figure’s legal rights. Regardless of whether he is convicted — which may or may not happen because of statute of limitations issues, the high standard for conviction, etc. — there is enough evidence here that the public can justifiably question Cosby’s character and believe he committed these crimes. Don’t forget, by the way, if someone is “probably a serial rapist” or “probably a murderer,” that would fail to meet the beyond a reasonable doubt standard to be convicted of a crime. But that doesn’t mean the public cannot judge that person on the facts available. In any event, if, somehow, Cosby proves that this a complex, coordinated smear campaign for you conspiracy theorists out there, then Ben’s can get the mural back up then. Until that every unlikely point in time, the mural needs to come down.

        • In her defense, I believe Whoopi changed her opinion on this earlier this week. Finally.

          • It’s been reported that ABC “strongly” encouraged her to change her stance because they were overwhelmed with anti-Whoopi emails. Also, I think she’s smart enough not to ruin her reputation on behalf of Cosby.

          • justinbc

            LOL @ “ruin her reputation”. It’s Whoopi Goldberg…

          • Interesting. Celebrity PR is a personal interest of mine. I find this stuff fascinatingly disturbing sometimes (often.)

    • justinbc

      Calm down? These pitch forks aren’t going to brandish themselves you know.

    • I agree and think Ben’s should make that decision which will likely be a result of public pressure. As to your comment about the justice system, I read that most of the alleged incidents are beyond the statute of limitations, meaning that they occurred too long ago to be tried in a court of law.

      I gave Mr. Cosby the benefit of the doubt for a while, however 3 factors have caused me to reconsider – 1) His admission to purchasing the drugs for sex with women 2) A recent video clip I saw where a reporter was asking him about art he lent for a Smithsonian exhibit and when asked about the allegations, Mr. Cosby became indignant and became insistent on speaking to the reporter’s boss and demanding that this clip not be shown. He acted as if he’s untouchable. 3) No one who worked with him any of his shows has come out to defend him. Phylicia Rashad’s attempt was more harmful than helpful as I don’t recall her saying the allegations would’ve been out of character for him. I think even he was smart enough not to cross her when they worked together. .

    • +1 to what Katie said. The man is not going to jail because the statute of limitations is up. But 37 women, that’s quite the preponderance of evidence.

    • Absolutely, let’s all be calm and let Ben’s make the decision on their own.
      Meanwhile, based on more than adequate facts in evidence, I’ve calmly decided not eat there unless they do, and I hope others do as well. Absence of a criminal conviction has nothing to do with customers voting with their feet.

    • Folks will vote with their feet. I won’t go back until the image of Cosby comes down.

  • I think we can all agree that Cos looks like a super creep in that painting in light of what we now know about him.

    Maybe we just add Rick James to the painting and call it a day.

  • Just think; ole Bill Cosby had it really made. Untouchable, millions of dollars, the perfect wife, perfect family, legions of fans -even up and until this day the President of the United States has a hard time pointing out he was wrong and should be shut down. Why do we make gods out of human beings?
    Bill Cosby who preached so hard against the ghetto mentality and pull your pants up, get a job and all those crazy books preaching and chastising others while he was doing all he could get away with and then some in the dark. You never recover from rape or being traumatized –never. Then he has the unmitigated gall to try to deny or say the victims were in on it. Sorry there is no pass for this. Fat Albert the payback would have to the ultimate price; A PUBLIC HEARTFELT APOLOGY ESPECIALLY TO THOSE HE HURT.
    And no, I will not go to the Smithsonian, him being a mere sponsor or no sponsor, I want to wash my hands of that particular wrong connected with that particular man. Bill, for all you were about, all those speeches and all that time spent on high mountains telling us we should this or that, an apology would be the very least you could do.

  • I’m fine with whatever the Ali family choses to do with the outside wall of their privately owned business. I’m sure it’s a wrenching issue for them.

    In the meantime if it bugs you that much don’t eat there. I think they’ll be fine.

  • I’m not sure one way or the other. But…Ben’s ownership has said that they consider Cosby family. The funny thing about family is that you can’t just cut those FAMILY TIES.

  • My vote is for Stokely Carmichael

  • Wow, lots of rape apologists making it out here today.

    • Lots of ISIS inspired radicals who would want to destroy art for the sake of their religion/morality.

      (Doesn’t feel good to be denigrated and accused of supporting evil when disagreeing with something is it?)

  • or at the very least, at least paint in a bottle of pills next to him

  • justinbc

    Is anyone else surprised that this mural hasn’t already been defaced by someone? I mean, not even a phallus on his forehead drawn with a Sharpie yet? What kind of angry mob are we?

  • Take it down. of course. I used to have all Cosby’s records and he was a cultural figure, but time for the honors to recede. But, good heavens, there are other local African American cultural figures besides Duke Ellington.

  • It actually kinda shocks me every single time I walk past it that nobody has gotten a $4 can of Krylon yet and sprayed “RAPIST!” right across his face in the middle of the night. For whatever it’s worth, Logan Hardware is a couple blocks away and does sell spray paint, and DCPD really don’t do anything about graffiti sprayers even if they manage to ID and catch them. Plus, it’s one thing to leave well enough alone – it’s a completely different matter to restore the mural after it gets defaced… Just sayin’…

  • tonyr

    Isn’t Chuck Brown part of this mural – you know, Chuck Brown the convicted murderer.

    • I could of sworn he served his time and paid his debt to society. Plus as others say further up on this thread, Brown’s crime was years ago in the past when many were not alive. So we can obviously disassociate ourselves from it.

  • If we’re collectively going to take down the publicly displayed images of every person who has done something criminal, my back of the envelope calculations show that at least 75% of all statutes, murals, paintings, photos, plaques, etc. honoring someone publicly would need to come down.

    If Ben’s thinks it’s losing too much business, or in their own value system analysis, decides to take it down, all power to ’em, but human beings are complex and we have good and bad in us, and people like Cosby did a lot of good in the world, and also, clearly, a lot of bad. A lot of people have very conflicted feelings about the guy now, and people at Ben’s might be in that category, might not be. Don’t think it’s as much of a no-brainer as a lot of others believe.

    Thanks for listening.

    • I agree with many of your points here. But I’d go further and say I think Cosby’s benefits vs harm should even factor into the equation of whether art portraying him should be destroyed. We don’t erase people from history or culture because they are bad people, and I don’t view this as an endorsement of Cosby by Ben’s. Our interpretation of art can change over time.

  • I’d like to say that I won’t eat there while the mural remains, but I don’t eat there anyway. Three times in 10 years, I think.
    For all the posters who will be voting with their wallets and staying away, how much business will Ben’s be losing here? Are you regulars who are going to be missed? Or like me, tried it a couple times for kicks and tourist value?

    • I was thinking something similar. If all the people not okay with it stop going there will the lines even lessen and will it be easier to get in?

      BUT…I also wonder how many of those who are pushing to take it down I’ll still see in line at 3am when the bars close waiting for a half smoke or trucking it up to CoHi for those delicious gay chicken nuggets when that store opens soon!

    • I will go there even more because I actually care about the First Amendment and don’t think every business should cater to popular opinion.

      • Accountering

        You managed to be wrong so many times in one sentence. I am actually impressed. I would suggest you brush up on your knowledge of the first amendment. Also, when public opinion is anti-rape, that isn’t very controversial…

  • I firmly believe that this guy is a complete creep and a criminal. But I don’t think we need to take down/destroy art that portrays all such individuals. This isn’t even set up as a mural or monument to honor him–he actually looks super creepy like a scary clown, which I guess is fitting.

  • Yes, the business should choose to remove the mural of a known serial rapist from its facade, for ethical and business reasons, despite his ability to escape criminal conviction.

  • Take it down and replace it with a painting of Philip Banks!

  • I have it on excellent authority that one of our talented local street artists is already planning a guerrilla assault this section of the wall. They’re fast, don’t care about being arrested, and have no opinion either way about the original artist, Aniekan Udofia.

  • Disappointed that Ben’s has not removed the mural. I urge others to boycott their restaurants. Wish we could organize a group and protest outside their place on U.

    • People here wanted to protest Marks Market and demand they stop selling SWAG boner pills because they were offended. So yes, maybe bens needs a protest. Do they still have the sign bill Cosby eats for free by the register? I for one refuse to give another cent to this organization until they distance themselves from Cosby.

  • Came across this request for a mural artist on Craigslist on July 7 – perhaps not legit but it has been re-posted a number of times by now..

    In case it gets taken down, here is the text:

    Ben’s Chili Bowl Seeks Mural Artist (213 U Street NW)

    [photo of portion of mural with Obama and Cosby]

    The photograph is self explanatory. Bring portfolio along with FBI background check of person you plan to depict. Looking to hire immediately.

  • if they remove it, will you attribute the change to this poll? #thepetitionworked!

  • If the Ali Family wishes to leave the mural of Cosby on their wall it’s their business, If you don’t like don’t it look at it.

  • I think they should leave it and have a little blurb with Cosby saying “hi ladies – be careful what you drink and who you go home with tonight”

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