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Newly Uncovered Bill Cosby Joke From '69 Speech Is Damning In Retrospect

Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770, a renowned social club for students, bestowed its “Man of the Year” award to comedian Bill Cosby in 1969. According to a Los Angeles Times/UPI Wire published on March 5, 1969, recently uncovered by The Huffington Post, the comedian “proposed changing the name of the annual honor” to “the nice guy as far as we know” award.

In light of the 46 women who have come forward since then to accuse Cosby of sexual assault, the joke — which probably came across as humble at the time — takes on an entirely different resonance.

A recent cover story by New York Magazine profiled 35 of the 46 women who’ve spoken out about Cosby, and noted that five of the women have said that he assaulted them in 1969, the same year as the Hasty Pudding speech.

The possible existence of the joke surfaced on Reddit Thursday via a link to an old story on a site called Mr. PopCulture, which collects pop culture anecdotes dating back to the 1950s. The Mr. PopCulture article did not cite an original source, so HuffPost worked with the site’s owner to narrow the search and uncovered the damning quote in the LA Times’ archive.

After making the joke, the Times reported, Cosby said the award should at least have a less serious name and then said, “If you’re talking about humanitarians, there are some people who should be in front of me.”

Earlier this month, an old episode of “The Cosby Show” received attention for its plot, which involved Cosby making a special, secret sauce that makes people want to have sex.

The Huffington Post has reached out to the LA Times and Hasty Pudding Institute for more information, but has yet to hear back.

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