aNewDomain — Type “pedophile” into Google Images. Here, I’ve done it for you. Look at all those creepy, sick faces. They all scream “molester defined!” But Jared Fogle, the miraculously thin representative of Subway who is being investigated for child pornography, doesn’t fit that vibe. He doesn’t fit the look.
First responders to the story have expressed disappointment and sadness that we may lose (or have we already lost?) Jared, the hero of weight loss in America. The nice guy who did it straight and is gay but normal and decent and hardworking; the guy who turned his personal weight loss into a national identity.
But second responders are taking a closer look. The images of “fat Jared” are more disturbing because they fit into the library of gross creeps who litter the Google search queue above. That guy hardly looks like thin, healthy, positive Jared, and seems at once more suspect than he ever did on Subway’s commercial platform.
This potential devaluing of an American icon feels all too familiar. Do you still believe in Bill Cosby?
For years, women have been telling tales about Bill Cosby drugging them and doing vile things while they were incapacitated. It wasn’t until Hannibal Buress riffed on the hushed secret that the story was picked up and feasted upon in our debilitating 24 hour news cycle.
What does a pedophile look like? What does a sexual deviant look like?
Here are two men we saw as safe, idealized versions of American success, and now one is confirmed as something sinister, while the other is under heavy investigation.
Investigators are likely to find forensic evidence that links Jared Fogle to the pedophile, Russell Taylor, who ran the childhood obesity organization that Fogle is associated with. Taylor, the former executive director of the foundation, was arrested on child pornography charges and currently faces seven counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
He was the focus of the FBI’s initial investigation. Agents looked at Taylor’s computer usage and now Fogel’s home is being scoured by dogs, technical agents and detectives to find some connection for the production and possession of child porn. While authorities are not always correct in releasing information about investigations, they have, at the time of this writing, confirmed that Subway’s spokesman is a suspect in this investigation.
So far there has been no personal statement from Fogel. You would expect an innocent person to at least be quoted through an attorney that they are cooperating with authorities and are innocent. Fogle’s attorney, Ron Elberger, released a statement to CBS News on July 7, 2015:
Jared has been cooperating, and continues to cooperate, with law enforcement in their investigation of unspecified charges and looks forward to its conclusion … He has not been detained, arrested or charged with any crime or offense.”
Fogel himself only appears to be entering the police van veiled in a hoodie. So far he’s said nothing, and the fact a national icon for weight loss and clean living has not put himself in front of the pubic feels worrisome. Fogle has enjoyed 15 years of fame and financial bloom after claiming that Subway’s menu was the key to his losing 200 pounds, and it’s unlike his perceived nature to remain quiet on this sensitive issue.
Any silence negatively affects the public opinion of Fogle.
Cosby and the Public Image
Compare this story to Bill Cosby — the first crack in his image came in 1997 when Autumn Jackson said she was his illegitimate daughter. At the time, Cosby (who was Mr.Clean, Mr. Don’t do dirty stand-up, Mr. Raise Your Children Right) admitted an affair with Autumn’s mother but insisted on a DNA test.
He also admitted that he considered a DNA test when the child was first born, but balked because he feared the results would become public. He paid over $100,000 over the following 20 years to keep this story quiet. He required this non-love child to maintain a B average in school and, when he found out Jackson dropped out of college, he stopped the flow of funds to the woman.
She threatened to send a copy of their financial agreement to a tabloid and Cosby went to the FBI, which ultimately charged Jackson with extortion. She was sentenced to 26 months in prison. That’s a fine way to treat a girl who you denied paternity of, but wanted to help. The money Cosby must’ve spent on attorneys to make this jail sentence must have cost more than Jackson would’ve needed to get her life on track.
Little did the public know that this chunky paternity story was the least of Cosby’s allegedly dark demons.
When Buress joked about the hushed rape women began poured out of the proverbial woodworks. There are now a minimum of 37 accusers.
The general public sees a parade of older women, far from sexual beacons, come forth to recount decades old memories, and likely makes another shameful flash judgement of the situation. We must remember that these were once young, vulnerable, women who wanted or had something — and Cosby wanted a very specific something in return. But the public still sees Cosby as Cliff Huxtable — or they see the hilarious, ageless funny guy on a barstool talking about the realities of fatherhood.
The man is 77-years-old and he is accused now of drug induced date rape for more than 40 years. A judge released Cobsy’s deposition transcripts because he was so flippant during trial, and evidence continues to pile on. The allegations and an increasing pile of evidence are damning, to say the least.
Cosby has batted away accusations and negative comments about his character for years. He has marshaled attorneys to attack women who accuse him. Janice Dickenson has, so far, felt the hottest light of shame. Her entire life after this incident was used to discredit her. Whatever you think she may be, she told the same story other Cosby accusers told without avail.
It wasn’t until Beverly Johnson, the first black supermodel in the U.S., came forward with her very detailed story about Cosby drugging her that Dickenson’s reputation was restored. Johnson is sober, professional and a parent who clearly remembers being drugged. She immediately accused Cosby, made a scene and cursed him to the extent that he walked her out of his home and shoved her into a cab. The number Cosby gave her turned out to be the phone that rang into his marital bedroom. When Beverly called to confront Cosby after the drugs wore off, Cosby’s dutiful wife, Camille, answered.
At that time, Johnson still wasn’t powerful enough to confront the Cosby machine.
But now the depositions are released. Not only does he admit to using Quaaludes but he is so flippant about the entire situation that you get the sense that he’s a true sociopath.
What does a sex offender look like? Bill Cosby. Maybe Jared Fogle.
What does power and fame look like? Impervious innocence.
Jared Fogle Heavy courtesy of Fogle and NY Daily News
Russell Taylor courtesy of Indiana State Police
Young Bill Cosby by Chris Favero via Flickr