Bill Cosby might be embroiled in a doping-and-groping scandal, but that's not going to stop him from talking morals.
In an interview with ABC's Nightline airing Wednesday and previewed on Good Morning America, Cosby's first TV sit-down since being sued for sexual assault, the entertainer says that any mistakes he may have made in his personal life will not keep him from urging African-American to take more personal responsibility. Such comments provoked a firestorm of controversy last year.
The Q&A took place in St. Louis, the latest stop on Cosby's continuing tour of urban areas. During his town-hall engagements, Cosby sounds off on problems he says are plaguing black families today, including deadbeat dads, poor education standards, foul language and apathy to further gains made during the civil rights protests of the 1960s.
When asked by ABC News if he thought the accusations of sexual misconduct levied against him by 31-year-old Andrea Constand undercut his message, the 67-year-old Cosby replied, "No. I couldn't care less what you think of me as long as you begin to execute that which will save your children."
The accuser, who now resides in her native Canada, claims she had considered Cosby a mentor and friend until January 2004, when she claims he drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia home.
Local prosecutors refused to file any criminal charges, citing insufficient evidence and suggesting that the year between the alleged incident and her coming forward to authorities damaged her credibility.
Constand then filed a sexual assault lawsuit in March. Since the filing, 12 other women have come forward with similar claims.
Last week, one of those accusers, 46-year-old ex-model Beth Ferrier, went public with her story, telling the Philadelphia Daily News that she believes the erstwhile Cliff Huxtable star spiked her coffee and then fondled her when she passed out.
Cosby has denied any wrongdoing. In his only previous interview since the allegations were publicized, Cosby told the National Enquirer in March that he was sorry if his actions were "misinterpreted" by Costand. "I am not going to give in to people who try to exploit me because of my celebrity status," he added.
Speaking to Nightline, Cosby says the allegations should have no bearing on his message. "If they are not true, what happens if they are not true?"
Cosby has already made it clear he's no saint. In 1997, the father of five copped to having a brief extramarital fling with the mother of Autumn Jackson. This came after Jackson was accused of trying to extort money from Cosby by falsely claiming that she was his love child.
When asked if his past conduct may have damaged his credibility and given ammunition to critics who label his speaking events--or "call outs" as he labels them--nothing more than a "Blame the Poor Tour," Cosby remained defiant.
"I would say they are trying to move away from the problem," Cosby told Nightline. "They're trying to deal me some cards other than the hand that I'm talking about. I don't talk about the television set that works. I call the mechanic about that one that's broken."