You may not have heard of Helen Selby. But you've most likely seen her before.
Yes, she was the Asian-American spokesmodel for L'eggs pantyhose in the early 1980s. A model and an actress, she was chosen for her ethnicity to promote L'eggs' "Sheer Elegance" line for the similarity of its feel to "silk from the Orient," a politically incorrect sales pitch today.
Now, you're probably wondering why I'm telling you about Helen Selby on my regular blog and not on my beautiful women picture blog. Uh, yeah, that's the thing . . . I just discovered that she was one of the recipients of Bill Cosby's sexual advances.
"Oh, no," I gasped when I read about this online, "not Helen Selby too!" But it's true. In February 2015, Helen Selby - who had since gotten married and is now Helen Gumpel - told a group of reporters in Boston that, after playing a one-shot role on "The Cosby Show" in 1987, she was called back to the set of the sitcom and returned thinking that Cosby wanted to audition her again, presumably for another episode. In fact, he wanted her to do an audition of a much different sort. She was taken to Cosby’s dressing room, where Cosby handed her a drink and stood in front of her with his crotch in her face.
"I never thought of myself as a victim because I refused his advances," Mrs. Gumpel said of Cosby's obscene behavior. "But my career was a victim."
Fortunately, it was then Cosby's turn to see his career get victimized. As soon as Mrs. Gumpel made those charges, Cosby was forced to cancel two successive appearances at a Boston theater. He said it had nothing to do with Mrs. Gumpel's charges but instead was due to a winter storm expected to dump two feet of snow on the Boston area. Oh, how convenient - but then, maybe Mother Nature isn't a Cosby fan. In fact, I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who is a Cosby fan these days.
As for the three charges of sexual assault against him from Andrea Constand that finally brought him before a magistrate this past December . . . well, here's where it stands. A judge in Pennsylvania, where the Constand incident allegedly took place, ruled in May 2016 that the case can go to trial. Cosby, free on $1 million bail, is to go on trial next June (June 2017); if convicted on all three charges, he could spend ten years in prison on all three charges concurrently or thirty years, ten for each charge, consecutively. (At 79 and reportedly blind as a result of a degenerative eye disease, Cosby may get a suspended sentence.) Meanwhile, Cosby filed a motion to have his lawsuit against Beverly Johnson over her sexual-assault accusations dismissed so he could concentrate on his defense in the Constand case.
With so many women - 59, according to Wikipedia - having charged Cosby with rape and sexual assault, a prosecuting attorney would have to be ten times worse than Marcia Clark to fail to get a conviction in the Constand case. He's already been tried in the court of public opinion and found guilty; you can't find any of his old TV shows in syndication, you likely can't find any of his movies on video, and, assuming the recording industry still prints old comedy albums on CD, you're not going to find Cosby's comedy albums in a record store. That's assuming you can find a record store, which is probably easier to find than anyone who believes that Cosby is innocent. Apart from his wife or former "The Cosby Show" cast members, that is. (Not to mention Kanye West as well.) Meanwhile, at least fifteen of his 57 honorary degrees - including one from my alma mater, Drew University - have been rescinded. His planned new sitcom for NBC was scrapped in November 2014, and the Creative Artists Agency dropped him as a client at about the same time. It's as if he never existed.
Bill Cosby is, in fact, what George Orwell described in "1984" as an "unperson."