Jay Leno sounds off on Bill Cosby: "I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe women"

The former "Tonight Show" host commended comedian Hannibal Buress for renewing focus on the rape allegations

Published January 21, 2015 10:10PM (EST)

  (Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
(Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

Jay Leno did a pretty good job of summarizing one of the most bewildering elements of Bill Cosby's fall from grace during a Q&A session on Wednesday, when he came out publicly against the comedian. Appearing at the NATPE conference, the former "Tonight Show" star weighed in on the controversy surrounding Cosby, who has been accused of drugging and raping nearly two dozen women over the course of several decades.

"I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe women," Leno said, according to Variety. "You go to Saudi Arabia and you need two women to testify against a man. Here you need 25."

Leno also highlighted the fact that renewed public interest in the Cosby allegations -- which have been an open secret for a number of years -- occurred after comedian Hannibal Buress made a joke about the star's behavior last fall. According to Leno, Buress "made a flat-out statement that reverberated around the world," which he considers to be a good thing. "People are getting news unfiltered now," the former NBC host said.

Leno, who hosted Cosby on his talk show several times during his 22-year run, offered a dramatically different response to the controversy than others who have known the former "Cosby Show" star for decades. Earlier this month, Cosby's former TV wife, Phylicia Rashad, encouraged the public to "forget these women." She later clarified the remark, saying, "This is not about the women."

By Jenny Kutner

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Bill Cosby Jay Leno Phylicia Rashad Rape Rape Survivors Sexual Assault Survivor Stories