Bill Cosby is free. He’s free on a technicality, despite 60 women coming forward and repeatedly sharing their harrowing and credible stories with the whole world. He’s free despite his own incriminating testimony. He’s free after serving only three years in prison despite a whole lifetime of allegedly drugging and raping and traumatizing women. He is unapologetic and unrepentant, and he is free.
Also free, we learned as of yesterday, is James Franco, who finally wheedled his way out from under sexual misconduct and fraud allegations. He agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by former students for over $2.2 million, three years after the women first accused him of sexually exploitative practices during acting lessons he held at the Studio 4 school. Franco’s former co-stars, Ally Sheedy and Busy Philipps, both spoke out about their own awful experiences with the actor. At this point, even his one-time best friend Seth Rogen has disowned Franco. But, just like Bill Cosby, Franco is free.
Dylan Farrow described the Cosby and Franco outcomes as a “travesty,” and summed up the feelings of frustrated women everywhere on Twitter.
It is a perfect example of how not just our society, but our justice system, continually fails survivors of sexual assault. For those that question ... survivors about the reasons and timing of coming forward, I hope that today will serve as a teachable moment on empathy, on why it takes years—if ever—for someone to disclose their abuse. Many survivors will look at the events of today and decide it’s not worth it; that even when justice is served, it can be taken away ... My heart goes out to the survivors today and every day.