#THEEMPTYCHAIR

A single image from New York magazine is more powerful than all of Bill Cosby’s denials

Bill Cosby, alleged serial rapist.
Bill Cosby, alleged serial rapist.
Image: AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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New York Magazine’s blockbuster story about the women who have accused comedian Bill Cosby of rape has struck a major chord online. The interviews by reporter Noreen Malone and Amanda Demme are portrayed in a striking cover image, showing 35 Cosby accusers along with an empty chair to represent rape survivors who have been forced into silence:

Update: The magazine’s website, down for much the day, is now back online. A hacker claimed to have taken it down via a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

Cosby has been accused of rape by 46 women, some of whom were minors at the time of the alleged attacks. He has also been accused of drugging many of his victims.

Many of the women who shared their stories with New York have responded to the article on Twitter using the hashtag #TheEmptyChair, prompting a conversation not just about Cosby’s alleged crimes, abut the way society deals with rape and its victims.

Using the hashtag #TheEmptyChair, the conversation has been particularly animated on Twitter. According to social media analytics site topsy, the hashtag has received over 9,000 mentions since the article was published.

Many women have been sharing their stories:

Others have posted facts about rape statistics, as well as the social circumstances that make it such a hard crime to report and tackle:

Many men have also displayed their support: