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Roland Martin and the “NewsOne Now” Straight Talk panel (featuring Kim Brown, Cleo Manago and Lauren Victoria Burke) discuss the decades old sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby that have reemerged in recent months.

During their discussion, Burke said the claims being made against Cosby are “pretty indicting,” especially given the number of women coming forward with allegations. She also spoke about Cosby’s silence on the matter saying, “Innocent people typically say, ‘hey I didn’t do it.’ He’s not doing that. That, for me, is kind of a deal breaker.”

When asked if it is a smart strategy for Cosby not to give interviews and address the rape allegations, Manago said, “No, not when it comes to rape. That’s not going to go away.” Manago believes Cosby has to say something to confront the issue and “not saying anything at all looks more suspicious than [Cosby] following an attorney’s advice.”

On Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon swore in 16 members of the “Ferguson Commission.” The panel was created to address the “social and economic conditions” that have been highlighted by protesters after the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

According to reports, members of the commission were selected out of a pool of more than 300 people who applied.

On Wednesday, Roland Martin and the “NewsOne Now” Straight talk panel (featuring Lauren Victoria Burke, Cleo Manago and Kim Brown) discussed how the “Ferguson Commission” may be able to impact conditions in the St. Louis suburb.

Lauren Victoria Burke had the following to say about the institution of the Commission: “I’m not sure you need another conversation about all of the problems in Ferguson because we’ve already heard these things for years.” She added, “I think the commission is effectively a PR attempt.”

Manago, who recently spent a week in Ferguson said, “I think they’re doing what they can to appease people and keep them calm, because we might not like what we are getting ready to hear.”

“If this commission is supposed to have some relevance,” Manago continued, “they should have somebody who has mental health skills, because there are some serious mental health issues happening on both end of the spectrum in Ferguson.”

Brown agreed with Manago’s comments and added, “I think this is a way to sort of placate the community, this is a band-aid, this is not a permanent solution to the issues that are happening in Ferguson.”

Chicago Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. joined Roland Martin on “NewsOne Now” to discuss corporate diversity and minority hiring. Burnett is part of a group of alderman who are demanding a more diverse workforce from the financial sector.

Burnett told Martin and the “NewsOne Now” panel that every time firms come to the Chicago City Council he asks them,  “How many Black folks? How many Hispanics? How many women do you have working for you? Because I think it is insulting if you don’t have any working for you.”

Alderman Burnett added, “We have corporations out here in society that won’t do business with people unless they have some diversity, why can’t the city do the same thing?’


All that and more in this edition of the NewsOne Now Audio Podcast.

NewsOne Now Audio Podcast: How Should Bill Cosby Respond To Sex Assault Claims?  was originally published on