Kathie Lee Gifford isn't ready to write off alleged abusers Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. Gifford told Andy Cohen on his radio show Radio Andy that she'd reached out to both Weinstein and Cosby in the months since they became embattled figures. She told Cohen that she wanted Cosby and Weinstein to know that she doesn't judge them, and that God "knows their hearts."
"You can’t call yourself a friend if the first minute there’s trouble, you run. That’s called a fair-weather friend, and that’s not a friend at all," she said. Gifford also explained that she doesn't like what they have been accused of doing, but that doesn't mean she won't be a friend. Gifford said she'd "reached out" to Cosby and left a message for Weinstein. She has been friends with both for many years.
Still, Gifford, who admitted she herself has experienced sexual abuse during her time working in television, doesn't want her actions to be misunderstood. "I’m not saying that that kind of behavior is in any way acceptable. It isn’t, and it’s horrible, and as a woman who has experienced it, it’s awful," she said. She concluded, "If we stop having mercy as a part of our vocabulary, Andy, our world will completely die."
Gifford is one of very few celebrities who have offered clemency to men accused of sexual misconduct, although she is not alone. The comedian Sarah Silverman, when Louis C.K. was accused of sexual harassment, posed the question, "Can you love someone who did bad things?" on her show I Love You, America.
"One of my best friends of over 25 years, Louis C.K., masturbated in front of women," she said. "I love Louis. But Louis did these things. Both of those statements are true."
She added, "I hope it's okay if at once I am very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and sad because he's my friend." Similarly, the comedian Marc Maron noted on his podcast WTF with Marc Maron that he would also maintain his friendship with C.K.
"He did some gross shit. Some damaging shit," Maron said. "And you know, he's in big fucking trouble. So what am I going to do? I'm going to be his friend, what do you want me to do? You know, it's probably the best time to be his friend when he needs to make changes in his life and, you know, I can learn from it. He can learn from it."
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