Bill Cosby’s private pudding pop collection at the Jell-O Museum closed amid legal woes
Bill Cosby responding to youthful transgressors at the Jell-O Pudding Pop Exhibit. Photo: Jell-O Archives/Bill Cosby Jell-O Collection.
By Gwendolyn L. Spelvin
LE ROY, NY — Bill Cosby has had a hard two years. Substantiated allegations of sexual depravity by almost 100 women has destroyed his branding reputation and spearheaded a loss of most of his classic endorsements. Through it all, the one company that kept their unwavering support through Cosby’s trials and tribulations was Jell-O, home of the original pudding pop.
That is, until today.
After paying Cosby’s bail after being arrested for past sexual indiscretions, Jell-O publically severed all ties with him, citing their debt to him had been far from paid. Considering a partnership spanning thirty-years was severed, the move comes as a big surprise to fans who fondly remember Cosby as their personal pudding pop pusher. With little fanfare and an ever-growing class action lawsuit on their heels, Jell-O dropped the curtain on the one thing Cosby has left in his celebrity career: the legendary Cosby pudding pop exhibit.
A class action lawsuit filed Monday from former Jell-O museum patrons accuses the company of allegedly allowing visitors to sample Cosby’s pudding pop collection with prior knowledge of them being tainted with sexual opiates of Cosby’s choice. Jell-O, a company that previously owed its reversal of fortune to Cosby for his shameless promotion of their products, denies all allegations.
Randolph Thompson, a spokesman for Jell-O stated from an official company press release, “the only drug we are selling here is sugar and a dash of caffeine in the chocolate. It is not our fault that just wasn’t enough to satisfy Mr. Cosby’s cravings. Jell-O in the future will be careful not to have a sole living branding partner with such alternative illegal tastes.”
In lieu of the lawsuit, a disclaimer has now been posted on the museum entrance that all Cosby pudding pops were tested for added enhancements and safe for sampling consumption. It was later revised to include the only chemical ingredient added was artificial flavors, upon which Cosby’s alleged use of opiates biochemically have none.
Franklin Pudding, the museum’s curator and president of the Cos-aholics Jell-O Jigglers Fan Club, took reporters on an unofficial tour of the now closed exhibit featuring freeze dried pudding pops in their original packaging from the heyday of its popularity, over twenty flavors that haven’t been seen or heard from since their debut, and sampling stations, among other attractions.
According to Pudding, all pieces are from Cosby’s personal collection donated to the museum, alongside a million-dollar gift for its proper preservation. Due to this, he feels the company shouldn’t slander the tainting of their classic collection, since the museum is about Cosby’s taste, not behavior.
“It’s terrible they are doing this to him,” Pudding said in a public statement to the press. “Jell-O is acting so high and mighty after all the money Cos made for them and gave them! So what, he puts Quaaludes in the mix. The man knows what works for his pudding. Joe Q. Public has no idea what the hell those ‘natural flavors’ you’re ingesting are either,” he said unwavering.
Cosby’s taste in pudding was tantamount; many limited edition flavors featured in the exhibit were commissioned by him and were hot sellers upon release. During one such advertising campaign, Cosby boasted to parents to give their kids medicine in certain flavors to hide the bitterness. These fatherly recipes by Cosby and several quotations on ratio mixing were displayed in the exhibit.
Jell-O Museum leaders debated for almost a year on keeping the exhibit open; even though Cosby has not been an official endorsee of Jell-O related products since the mid-1990s, Cosby maintained a tight knit relationship with the company, increasing its memorabilia value on Ebay until recently.
However, a calvalcade of court testimony pointed to Jell-O pudding (and to a lesser extent Jell-O Jigglers) being the administrative aid of choice by Cosby in giving his victims sexual opiates like Spanish Fly, inciting lawsuits both against Cosby, and Jell-O over the pudding pop exhibit.
The museum drew more than 500,000 visitors a week, mostly during school trips during the run of the exhibition. While younger school aged children remarked a positive response, older children overran the comments in the visitor book with unsavory images of Cosby in prison with hostile sexually confused cellmates.
Pudding has been very vocal with his criticism against his employer; Pudding insists the exhibit celebrates Cosby’s commitment to fatherhood and child bonding, a tie mercifully crucified by critics given his recent alleged sexual deviancy towards women. However, he said the scandal has made Jell-O leery on giving any future endorsements to entertainers, despite their own track record.
“Why they (Jell-O) is playing possum on this is beyond me. They knew when they signed him what they were getting. But what does that have to do with stealing people’s childhood from them? God, he didn’t drop anything in my pudding, so what’s the beef? When Cos drugs just as many people as Jell-O has given diabetes and hypoglycemia to, then you can cry foul to me.”
Bill Cosby was unavailable for comment.