Fact Check: Bill Cosby Was NOT Jailed Due To Oil Company Plot

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Bill Cosby Was NOT Jailed Due To Oil Company Plot Sexual Assault

Did Bill Cosby go to jail because of an oil company plot? No, that's not true: In 2016 there was talk of a gas company that wanted to use some of Cosby's land for a survey for a gas pipeline but the project never went through. The disgraced actor and comedian was convicted in 2018 of felony sex assault, which is why he was sent to prison.

The claim appeared in a video post (archived here) on Instagram on May 16, 2024. In the post, a man said:

What white woman [do] you know waits 40, 50 years to tell on a black man for sexually abusing? They going to the cops that same night, you don't wait 40 years. 'Cause he didn't take advantage of 'em.

But because him and Camille Cosby didn't want to let the white oil company drill under they house in Massachusetts, they decided to bankrupt him through the courts with the sexual allegations to eventually force him to sell the house so the oil company could get the oil. Bill Cosby went to jail for oil.

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri July 5 05:54:00 2024 UTC)

In 2018, Cosby was found guilty of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a woman he met through the basketball program at Temple University, his alma mater. He was sentenced to serve three to 10 years in prison. In 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction and Cosby was released. The court said the prosecutor in the case was bound by a prior agreement not to charge Cosby.

The man in the post appeared to be referring to a now-scrapped natural gas pipeline project that Cosby and his wife, Camille, had opposed. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, had proposed the Northeast Energy Direct Project (archived here), which would have expanded an existing pipeline system in Pennsylvania, New York and New England, and cost approximately $5 billion.

The Cosbys, who own land in Shelburne, Massachusetts, opposed the project, which reportedly wanted to use one of the couple's driveways as a temporary access road for survey work. MassLive.com posted photographs (archived here) of the Cosbys' property, showing "No Survey for Gas Pipeline" signs and warning trespassers would be prosecuted.

The pipeline project faced stiff opposition and was scrapped in 2016. Kinder Morgan cited (archived here) "insufficient contractual commitments from customers in the New England market" as the reason behind the cancellation. Notably, the project was dropped roughly two years before Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault. The post on Instagram offered no sourcing to back up its claim.

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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