Last year, the actor and comedian held third position alongside high-profile names such as Tom Hanks and Kate Middleton, but now ranks at 2,615. Known as “America’s Dad” for his role on The Cosby Show, he was considered a much-loved US institution.
The findings were documented by the Marketing Arm, a unit of Omnicom Group that judges perceptions of celebrities based on online polls. The company says it has rarely seen such a dip in public opinion.
“The list changes weekly with celebrities that are well-known and some not as well-known moving up or down a spot or two based on their new data,” said The Marketing Arm spokesperson Billy Embody. “It almost changes weekly, but we rarely see a drop like Cosby’s.”
Cosby now ranks alongside American footballer Manti Te’O, who was involved in a fake girlfriend controversy. In 2013, Te’O told the press that his girlfriend had died of leukaemia, but it was later discovered that her death was a hoax. Her existence had been fabricated by a man called Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who was in love with the footballer and conducted a relationship with him exclusively online under the guise of a woman.
Cosby’s social media popularity has also been significantly marred. Networked Insights, which analyses social media, has found that of nearly 700,000 comments made about Cosby in the first 20 days of November, a third of those were negative.
Over the past two months, numerous women have accused the actor of sexual assault. Many of his stand-up shows have been cancelled in light of the allegations.
Cosby has defended himself, saying that, “People need to fact check” before coming to any decisions. His lawyers have strongly denied all claims.
“I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos,” Cosby told Florida Today.
“People should fact check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.”
Last Friday, he was given standing ovation when he performed at Melbourne, Florida.
In 2006, Andrea Constand claimed that Cosby had drugged and assaulted her in his Philadelphia mansion in 2004 - allegations firmly denied by his lawyers. Over 13 alleged victims were proposing to testify but the civil case with Constand settled in 2006. The terms of the settlement remain undisclosed.
Cosby has never been arrested or charged with any offence arising from the allegations.
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