Bill Cosby invited the public Monday to turn pictures of him into Internet memes using a generator on his website that facilitates putting words onto the images he’s offering and then sharing the results.
The results were brutal. The generator has since been removed from the site without explanation, along with erased social media mentions of it from Cosby’s personal account.
Initial reaction to the idea -- which was sent out in the afternoon to the legendary comic’s nearly 4 million Twitter followers -- seemed to be confusion, as well as dread over what might result, given the allegations of sexual assault by a number of women that have plagued the 77-year-old in recent years.
While known primarily for his stage act, his classic sitcom “The Cosby Show” and the animated series “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” Cosby settled a lawsuit in 2006 with a woman who said he drugged and sexually assaulted her in early 2004 at his home outside Philadelphia, the Associated Press reported. The woman said that he assaulted her after giving her pills.
The photos offered by the meme generator are stills of the performer from “The Cosby Show,” which ran from 1984 to 1992.
Shortly after the challenge went out, the #CosbyMeme hashtag had been taken over by unflattering images of the comic.
The reason for the meme generator was unclear, and although submissions were subject to review before they were posted on Cosby’s site, there was little to prevent people from sharing their unapproved creations off the site.
Attempts to reach Cosby for comment were unsuccessful.