Cavett, 78, a seminal figure in the nation’s discourse for more than five decades, also said Cosby clearly suffers from a case of “extreme mental pathology.”
“Why that wasn’t noted and treated, instead of apparently protected and coddled, I don’t know,” he told SiriusXM host Pete Dominick.
“I also feel very sorry for the women, whose lives, in some cases, were virtually ruined,” he added, pronouncing the situation “a terrible tragedy for everyone involved” and “a great shame.”
Cavett said the women’s tales of “nightmares, sexual dysfunctions, their horrors” is “as bizarre a thing as I can imagine.”
He also expressed equal bafflement at the people who are going to, and selling out, Cosby’s shows.
“That’s crazy, too, to me; I don’t know,” he said. “Everything about it baffles me. I can’t think of a precedent for it.”
“People will applaud murderers and ex-Nazis when they get up to speak in places and things, not that Bill is either of those as far as we know.
“But I don’t know how sorry to feel for him, because I don’t what his mentality must be for him to be able to do those things,” he said.
Nearly 30 women have come forward so far to tell eerily similar tales of meeting Cosby, allowing him to gain their trust and ultimately being drugged and in most cases sexually assaulted over the course of his career.
Although many alleged incidents go back more than 40 years, the most recent occurred just six years ago.
Chloe Goins, who claims as an 18-year-old that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles, filed a criminal complaint against the embattled comedian on Jan. 14. Goins is now 24 and works as a lap dancer and model in Las Vegas.
Cosby has denied each and every allegation through his lawyer, although he has stonewalled on requests for comments.
Cavett said he gets personally irritated when people pronounce Cosby, or anyone, “innocent until proven guilty.”
“That’s the most misunderstood phrase in the American system,” he said. “It doesn’t mean what people think it does.”
“It’s the presumption of innocence, which refers to that fact that you don’t have to prove you’re innocent; they have to prove you’re guilty. That’s our system.”
“But it’s not our law, it’s a rule of evidence.”
Cavett has hosted talk shows on half a dozen networks going back to the 1960s. His interviews with such figures as John Lennon, Groucho Marx, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Garland and Marlon Brando are classics.
Most recently he’s written a column for the online New York Times.
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