On Wednesday (June 30), Bill Cosby became a free man after nearly three years in prison. The comedian was serving a three-to-10 year sentence on sexual assault charges for the alleged drugging and molestation of Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court discovered an agreement with a previous prosecutor that prevented him from being charged in the case, Cosby’s sexual conviction was overturned, and he was released from prison.
Alongside the reports of the viral news were videos of Cosby walking out of the state prison, where he spent more than two years behind bars. All were met with an onslaught of reactions from social media users, who mainly expressed their disappointment in the legal system.
“BILL COSBY OUT OF JAIL!?? wrote Twitter user @jiggyjayy2. “I THOUGHT WE WAS TRYING GET RAPIST OFF THE STREET!!! NOT PUTTING THEM BACK ON THE STREET.”
Journalist Greg Price shared his belief that Cosby’s finances played a role in his release. “Bill Cosby, yet another member of the elite walking free because he could afford attorneys that could find technicalities in the system to overturn his conviction,” he said.
Others predicted that Cosby’s prison release would bring hope to others who are serving time on sexual assault charges.
“With Bill Cosby being released from prison after two years of serving a sentence for sexual assault, Harvey Weinstein is thinking ‘Me. Do me. Me next,’” @b52Malmet penned in a tweet.
MSNBC talk show host Joy Reid joined in on the conversation, sharing a tweet that captured her reaction to the unexpected news. “Welp… I sure didn’t have a court negating 50-something sexual assault allegations and freeing Bill Cosby on my Armageddon Bingo card…,” she wrote, while journalist E. Jean Carroll explained that the recent ruling is “why women do not come forward” in similar cases.
See reactions to Bill Cosby’s prison release below.