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Bill Cosby’s Fallout explained by an Information Cascade

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/business/media/bill-cosby-fallout-rape-accusations.html?ref=business&_r=0

The article addresses the sexual assault accusations that are piling up against Bill Cosby and how they are putting Bill Cosby’s career in limbo. The former model Janice Dickinson spoke in a television interview on Tuesday about how Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her. With Janice Dickinson’s accusation on Tuesday, Bill Cosby now has at least five women who have accused him of sexual assault. As a result, NBC has dropped its plans to develop a new situation comedy starring Bill Cosby. Also, Netflix has put aside a show commemorating Cosby’s 77th birthday. Cosby’s lawyers deny the claims and Cosby has yet to be convicted for any of the charges that have mounted in the past decades.

So, according to the article, Bill Cosby’s career has been placed in limbo because of the accusations of at least five women. This effect can be described by an information cascade in a network. So, initially people know Bill Cosby from the Cosby Show and view him as a kind, caring, responsible man, but views begin to change as more people are exposed to the multiple stories of accusations. As accusers share their story, family and friends begin to change their view on Bill Cosby. This results in a network of people hearing and telling the story about Bill Cosby’s sexual assaults and more people begin to change their view of Bill Cosby.

So the diffusion of this new opinion begins to spread through the network of people who would be interested in viewing media featuring Bill Cosby. As a result, Netflix and NBC see this trend, decide the target audience for their programming is no longer feeling so good about Bill Cosby. So, the broadcasters do not want to support someone who their viewers think is a bad man, and as a result cancel/postpone the programming until more facts emerge. Therefore, this places Bill Cosby’s career in limbo until the facts are set straight.

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