In an ironic twist of events, the "Pound Cake" speech in which Bill Cosby famously (or, perhaps, infamously) criticized the black family and black neighborhood for what he deemed unsavory behavior was used to open the comedian to public scrutiny surrounding sexual assault allegations against him.
In December 2014, the Associated Press submitted a request to unseal court documents from a 2005 deposition in which a Temple University employee accused Cosby of molestation. It was the second of such requests made by the AP, the first of which was denied when a judge decided to seal the documents temporarily. This time, though, Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania justified the unsealing of the documents using Cosby's own outspoken behavior.
Judge Robreno said in his memorandum, "The stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist, and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct, is a matter as to which the AP — and by extension the public — has a significant interest."
Despite the fact that Cosby isn't a "public figure," in the traditional sense, Judge Robreno decided that "This case, however, is not about a Defendant's status as a public person by virtue of the exercise of his trade as a televised or comedic personality. Rather, the defendant has donned the mantle of public moralist and mounted the proverbial electronic or print soap box to volunteer his views on, among other things, childrearing, family life, education, and crime."
The judge cited Cosby's "Pound Cake" speech in his decision.
Philadelphia funnyman Cosby made his often-cited speech while speaking at an NAACP awards ceremony in 2004. In the speech, he lambasted the failures of black parents, the behavior of black children, and justified police force in a matter of minutes.
On black parents:
"In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on…I'm talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was 2? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18, and how come you don't know he had a pistol?"
"I can't even talk the way these people talk…I don't know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house. Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads."
On black crime and the police:
"Looking at the incarcerated, these people are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged: 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"
At the time, the speech was praised by some who commended Cosby for his willingness to acknowledge such issues in the black community, and criticized by others who stated Cosby's speech ignored a large part of black American history.
Ultimately, Judge Robreno decided that Cosby, with his civic-minded outspokenness and specifically his "Pound Cake" speech, "has voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy that he is entitled to claim."
In the newly unsealed court documents, the AP found that Cosby admitted to drugging a woman prior to having sex with her.