A Bill Cosby accuser reacts to his dropped sexual assault conviction

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault conviction Wednesday. 
  • Victoria Valentino, who accused Cosby of rape, told ABC News her “stomach is lurching.”
  • “I am deeply distressed about the injustice of the whole thing,” she said.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Victoria Valentino, who alleges Bill Cosby raped her in the ’60s, responded to the news on Wednesday that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the 83-year-old’s sexual-assault conviction.

Cosby was serving a three- to 10-year prison sentence for aggravated indecent assault after being convicted in the 2004 sexual-assault case of the Temple University employee Andrea Constand.

More than two years into Cosby’s sentence, he was released from a Pennsylvania state prison after the state’s highest court ruled that an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented the comedian from being charged.

“I haven’t really had time to process it, except for the fact that my stomach is lurching and I am deeply distressed about the injustice of the whole thing,” Valentino, one of the more than 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, told ABC News.

She went on to call Cosby a “sociopath” and “serial rapist.”

Valentino later spoke about the implications of Cosby’s freedom during an appearance on CNN, declaring her desire to take action against the ruling. 

“This is really a sad statement about a women’s value, a women’s worth — what is happening right now,” she said, adding: “We need to do something about this. I just don’t know what. I’m so stunned. My stomach is in knots.” 

Andrew Wyatt, a spokesperson for Cosby, said in a statement to Insider his team considered the court’s decision “amazing news.” 

“We’re excited and we want to thank the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,” he said.

Bill Cosby leaving a courthouse

Cosby departs Montgomery County Court on the first day of sentencing in his sexual-assault trial on September 24, 2018, in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Mark Makela/Getty Images


Valentino previously alleged that Cosby raped her in 1969 after the death of her 6-year-old son, according to CBS News. She was 26 years old at the time.

Other people who have accused Cosby of sexual assault and misconduct also responded to the ruling. 

Lisa Bloom, a high-profile attorney who represents three of Cosby’s accusers, wrote in a tweet that her clients were “disgusted that he is a free man today.”

“He is not released because he is innocent,” she tweeted. “He is released because a prosecutor promised him years ago that he would not be brought to justice, without even making a deal for him to do time.”

Cosby has denied any wrongdoing and not apologized over the accusations. He said he would serve the 10-year maximum sentence rather than express remorse for his behavior toward Constand, as he did not want to admit to actions that he said he did not commit, USA Today reported in 2019. 

In May, he was denied parole after refusing to participate in a therapy program meant for sex offenders, according to The Associated Press.

bill cosby

Cosby was released from Pennsylvania state prison on Wednesday.

Mark Makela / Getty Images


Accusations against the comedian resurfaced in 2014 after a video of Hannibal Buress telling his audience that Cosby was a “rapist” went viral.

The video led to a renewed interest in a 2005 lawsuit that Constand filed against the “Cosby Show” star, in which she accused him of drugging and sexually molesting her. More than 50 women subsequently came forward with accusations against Cosby after the comedy set blew up online.

Following a reopened criminal investigation into Constand’s allegations, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018. 

BET founder, US first black billionaire, calls for reparations

  • Robert L. Johnson, America’s first Black billionaire, is calling on the federal government to pay reparations.
  • His suggested $14 trillion would be roughly $333,400 per Black person in the US. 
  • He also urged lawmakers to pass a decades-old bill that would set the stage for reparations. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Robert L. Johnson, America’s first Black billionaire and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), is calling on the federal government to pay out $14 trillion in reparations to Black Americans — and he wants a check too. 

Johnson made the charge in an interview with Vice News published Wednesday. 

“Reparations would require the entire country to … admit that the result of slavery has been 200 years of systemic racism and for that reason Black folks have been denied $13-15 trillion of wealth,” Johnson told the outlet. “And therefore we as a country now must atone by paying Black people of all stripes —the rich ones, the poor ones, and the middle—out of our pocket.” 

The figure could equate to roughly $333,400 per person, based on 2019 data from the US Census Bureau that showed there are approximately 41.9 million African-Americans in the US.

The wealth gap between Black and white Americans exists for many reasons. The effects of redlining in the housing market, differences in education, homeownership, lower wages, unconscious and conscious biases, have all contributed.

Johnson, now 75, told Vice News that a $14 trillion payout would be enough money to close the wealth gap. However, he says he’s “not exactly optimistic.”

There has been legislation introduced to support reparations for Black Americans. A bill to create the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” otherwise known as HR 40, would be a step towards the reparations conservation if it were to get passed. The bill was first introduced in 1989 by Congressman John Conyers.

“HR 40, when it’s passed, will not actually provide reparations for anyone, but what it will do is move us on the road to be more truthful and in direct conversation about what happened,” Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy organization, told Vice News. “We’re also seeing local communities have these conversations, seeing a reparations mindset to some advocacy work to repay Black people.”

There have been local efforts, too, including in Evanston, Illinois which in March became the first town in the US to embark on a reparations plan. The Chicago suburb will spend $10 million in total, starting with $400,000 in mortgage relief for families. 

Johnson said that reparations should reach Black Americans of all walks of life, even those who have accumulated wealth. Johnson named successful Black people such as Oprah Winfrey, Lebron James, Micheal Jordan, and even himself, of all being deserving of a check. 

“If you’re a successful Black business, the idea is you’ve had enough,” Johnson told Vice News. “But no one ever asks if [a white-owned business] is too rich to benefit from investing in a football stadium, or receiving other benefits like preferential tax treatment or

liquidity
injections from the

Federal Reserve
.”

China apparently building more than 100 new missile silos: analysts

  • Satellite images show China building more than 100 new missile silos, analysts told the Washington Post.
  • Altogether China is building at least 145 new missile silos across the country, a researcher said.
  • The Pentagon has said evidence suggests China plans to build an “expanded silo-based force.”

China appears to be building more than 100 new missile silos in the desert, according to an analysis of satellite imagery first reported by the Washington Post Wednesday.

Analyzing satellite images from Planet Labs, Jeffrey Lewis and Decker Eveleth, researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, identified 119 apparent intercontinental ballistic missile silos under construction near Yumen in Gansu province.

ICBM silo construction in China

ICBM silo construction

Planet Labs/Center for Nonproliferation Studies at MIIS


The researchers also identified the construction of a possible control center.

Possible ICBM launch control center under construction in China

Possible ICBM launch control center

Planet Labs/Center for Nonproliferation Studies at MIIS


The report follows one published in February from Federation of American Scientists researcher Hans Kristensen, who observed that China was constructing a number of additional ballistic missile silos in part of central China.

Lewis told the Post that “if the silos under construction at other sites across China are added to the count, the total comes to about 145 silos under construction.”

The belief, he said, is that “China is expanding its nuclear forces in part to maintain a deterrent that can survive a US first strike in sufficient numbers to defeat US missile defenses.”

That said, it is unclear whether China intends to fill all of the silos with nuclear missiles.

ICBM silo construction in China

ICBM silo construction

Planet Labs/Center for Nonproliferation Studies at MIIS


There is “a very good chance that China is planning a shell game,” Lewis said. If that is the case, it would mimic a US strategy implemented during the Cold War and possibly boost deterrence through strategic uncertainty.

ICBM silo construction in China

ICBM silo construction

Planet Labs/Center for Nonproliferation Studies at MIIS


China, with only a few hundred nuclear weapons, has a significantly smaller nuclear arsenal than the US and Russia, which possess thousands of nuclear weapons, but the Pentagon has said that China appears to be expanding its nuclear capabilities.

The Department of Defense explained in its 2020 China military power report that evidence indicates “China intends to increase the peacetime readiness of its nuclear forces by moving to a launch-on-warning (LOW) posture with an expanded silo-based force.”

The report further noted that “over the next decade, China’s nuclear warhead stockpile—currently estimated to be in the low 200s—is projected to at least double in size as China expands and modernizes its nuclear forces.”

At least some of the new missile silos under construction across China are suspected to have been designed to house the new DF-41 ICBM. Though the DF-41 was debuted as a road-mobile missile, China is believed to be looking at rail and silo basing as alternatives.

Like its predecessor, the Biden administration has expressed a desire for an arms control mechanism of some type that would also cover China’s evolving nuclear arsenal, not just those of the US and Russia. It is, however, unclear how it intends to achieve this.

Facebook is changing the structure of employee-performance reviews

  • Facebook is revamping its annual performance reviews, Insider has learned.
  • It’s a sign the social-media giant is maturing, one insider said.
  • The company, founded in 2004, employed more than 58,000 people at the end of last year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook is changing the structure of its performance reviews, Insider has learned, and a company employee said it could be a sign that the social-media giant is maturing and attracting different kinds of employees.

“Performance Summary Cycle” (PSC) reviews typically happen at the company in January and July. Now they will take place once a year, although employees can still pitch for promotions every six months.

“This change won’t affect anyone until 2022, but we’re sharing the news early to give everyone space to prepare,” a Facebook spokeswoman, Tracy Clayton, said in a statement. “We are making this change to better reflect the direction of the company with remote work in mind and guided by our principles of fairness, simplicity and building for the long term.”

The change was announced last week during a staff meeting, a Facebook employee said. (They asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to talk about internal company matters.)

This year, employees will still have to complete the PSC in July, then once again in January, after which it will switch to an annual review. Employees will still be eligible for promotions in July moving forward.

A former senior Facebook employee, who asked not to be named to protect their career opportunities, told Insider this is a sign of a maturing company.

“More than the process or logistics, it’s what people want,” the person said, adding that when you’re a large company, you attract different kinds of employees who seek stability.

“When you’re a startup, you attract people who want to quickly course correct and change. Waiting a full year is great for average people.”

Facebook’s human-resources chief, Lori Goler, told Insider a few years ago that the company does performance reviews twice annually because “the business moves very quickly and our product moves very quickly, and if you wait a whole year, a lot of things have changed.”

Facebook had more than 58,000 employees at the end of last year, up from about 12,000 in 2016, when Goler made those comments.

Do you work at a big tech company or have insight to share? Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).