Bill Cosby been found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, and the entertainer could now face up to 10 years in prison on each count.
As news of the verdict against Cosby spread Thursday, some followers of the case took to Twitter to bring the focus back to comedian Hannibal Buress, who famously made a joke about the sexual misconduct allegations against Cosby in a Philadelphia stand up set in 2014, and is considered to be one of the cultural catalysts behind the start of the comedian’s most recent legal proceedings.
“Bill Cosby has the f——— smuggest old black man persona that I hate,” Buress said in 2014. “He gets on TV, ‘Pull up your pants black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”
The bit created a media firestorm around the allegations against Cosby, and led to more women making public accusations against the long-beloved TV dad. In total, about 60 women made accusations against Cosby, with some alleged incidents dating back to the 1960s, according to reports.
Following his Cosby bit going viral, Buress called himself an “accidental whistle-blower” in the case, and said that the media “put me too much at the front of that s——.”
He addressed the bit in his 2016 Netflix comedy special: “That situation got out of hand. Yikes,” he says in the special. “I was just doing a joke at a show! I didn’t like the media putting me at the forefront of it. They were sly dissing me in the news: ‘Unknown Comedian Hannibal Buress…’ ‘Brokeass comedian… Homeless comedian Hannibal Buress took the stage in Philly, covered in rags…’”
With Cosby now guilty, many fans cheered Buress on on Twitter:
Hannibal: Bill Cosby is a rapist.
— Lil Unicorn $t. Cloud (@HeelStCloud) April 26, 2018
Hannibal Burress looks down at his notebook. With a red pen he neatly crosses out the name:
He smiles and turns the page…
— George Mavrogeorgis (@george_mavro) April 26, 2018
If Hannibal Burress doesn't make that joke about Cosby none of this happens pic.twitter.com/uvrWRBwg6L
— ᑕᕼᖇIᔕ (@ctapmoney) April 26, 2018
I will respect Hannibal Buress forever because he was able to topple a career of a monster who more-than-deserved it, and all he had to say was, "Hey, remember that time when Bill Cosby is a serial rapist?"
— Jordan Saïd is TRYING, OK?! (@StabbinsMcGee) April 26, 2018
Hannibal buress watching the bill Cosby verdict pic.twitter.com/Y8CDMrZFt8
— Pilot Fly (@NH_Easy) April 26, 2018
Now that Cosby has been found guilty, I’d like @hannibalburess to tell some jokes about the people behind the 2008 financial collapse.
— Heather Anne Campbell (@heathercampbell) April 26, 2018
Shout out to Hannibal Buress, for starting off the chain of events that lead to the Bill Cosby investigation, Weinstein's fall, and now Cosby's conviction.
He's the realest Christina Applegate. pic.twitter.com/gP9DzVCIMP
— Failed To Qualify (@CommonWheatBoy) April 26, 2018
Hannibal Buress hearing the news about Bill Cosby pic.twitter.com/p1MsxG3U0A
— Breland (@VCBreland) April 26, 2018
Bill Cosby is going to spend the rest of his life in prison because a joke Hannibal Buress told woke people up
— Collin⁶ (@MrCollinMiller) April 26, 2018
Im picturing Eddie Murphy doing a Bill Cosby impression saying how much he hates Hannibal Burress
— eric cunanan (@CunananEc) April 26, 2018
— HHG | MajinKratos (@majinkratos) April 26, 2018
Its unreal it all started with Hannibal Burress making that one joke about Bill Cosby on stage. pic.twitter.com/Fo0XdpCVqI
— Susan Hunt (@StSusanHunt) April 26, 2018
Yo, Hannibal Buress gotta go squat outside the courthouse while Bill Cosby is being escorted out.
— Hot Take Connoisseur (@anxiousblackman) April 26, 2018
— Jake Holley (@Jake_Holley) April 26, 2018
Hannibal Burress indirectly killed Bill Cosby. The blood of Bill Cosby is on Hannibal Burress’ hands. Lol, smh.
— Maurice Stephen “Stackz” (@stackzcomedy) April 26, 2018
Other users, meanwhile, pointed out that the Cosby case began long before Buress’ joke, and continued long after he stopped talking about it, thanks to the women who stepped forward with their stories:
some people are really tryna say that Hannibal Bruess "destroyed Bill Cosby's life"…. ok what about women he raped, what about their lives?
— if u say so™ (@evaporatedjuice) April 26, 2018
Hannibal getting credit for the Bill Cosby verdict is driving me nuts. Give credit to the women who should have been listened to since way back in the 80s. Like ew.
— BΔK 🇯🇲 (@bobeaubreaux) April 26, 2018
Hannibal Burress shedding light on Cosby was needed, but not sure we need to anoint him the deliverer of justice. That belongs to the women who fought harder than anybody should have to for it.
— Ande Wall (@AndeWall) April 26, 2018
I'm glad these women got some measure of Justice against Bill Cosby but it's a shame that it took Hannibal Buress to lead people by the hand and Google "Bill Cosby rape". They should've been heard.
— Mecha G. (@GBRougecity) April 26, 2018
Don’t ever forget that it took a man, Hannibal Buress, to call out Cosby in his stand-up to start the process of the women to finally come close to being believed.
Guys, prove #NotAllMen and be real allies. Call out harassment and assault. Please. Until women can be believed.
— Valerie (@valerieinto) April 26, 2018
Wild how much of #MeToo started with an off-hand Hannibal Buress joke instead of just believing women. Anywho, good riddance Cosby.
— Seth (@TheJackalopeTX) April 26, 2018
Let's remember that Hannibal Buress only was able to discuss the Cosby accusations because women had repeatedly come forward and been ignored.
— Max Sparber (@maxsparber) April 26, 2018
It still boggles my mind that it didn’t take the women coming forward with their allegations but it took Hannibal Buress telling some jokes for people to look into Bill Cosby. This is a crazy world we live in right now.
— Petty Griffin (@StrongBad328) April 26, 2018
Don’t erase the black women who spoke up about Bill Cosby before Hannibal B.
— darth Heaux (@laughingat) April 26, 2018
Hannibal Burress made some jokes about Bill Cosby being a rapist and finally he was brought on charges, took a dude to make some jokes, this what happens when you don’t believe women.
— 六 (@6ixSchulz) April 26, 2018