Bill Cosby — or his social media team — appears to have learned a tough lesson: never give the Internet an opportunity to mock you.
On Monday night, the legendary comedian's Twitter account posted an image macro of his face asking his 3.9 million followers to make him into a meme, using the hashtag #CosbyMeme.
Meme him they did. Within minutes, the seemingly innocuous hashtag was turned into an opportunity to rehash the fact that at least 13 women have accused him of sexual assault.
Despite the many accusations, Cosby has never been charged with the crime.
Not all #CosbyMeme entrants focus on Cosby's alleged history with sexual assault. One Twitter user took the opportunity to joke about #GamerGate:
Another recalled a similarly disastrous hashtag stunt, courtesy of New York’s finest:
And in true meme fashion, the #CosbyMeme has already mutated to poke fun of Cosby and Sen. Ted Cruz, whose declaration that Net Neutrality was "Obamacare for the Internet" was mocked earlier that day.
Cosby’s continuing success has caused some to wonder why his reputation doesn’t appear to have been hampered by the accusations. Matt Giles points out in Vulture that a recent biography, Cosby: His Life and Times, makes no mention of the allegations. And last month, comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby a rapist during a set: “He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”
So when Cosby’s PR team asked the Internet to generate their own Cosby memes, they maybe should have expected the memes to be less than flattering. Good luck, Team Cosby:
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.
Fidel Martinez is an editor at Fusion.net. He's also a Texas native and a lifelong El Tri fan.