Steve Harvey may have banned his staff members from speaking to him in a widely circulated internal memo, but when it comes to his friends, he’s always down for a chat — even if one of those friends is Bill Cosby.
The “Family Feud” host admitted that he and Cosby haven’t spoken in several months, but that their relationship remains strong thanks to a foundation built off of Cosby showing him the ropes of the industry.
“When I’m your friend, I’m your friend,” Harvey told The Hollywood Reporter. “And Bill Cosby helped my sons at Morehouse (College), and he taught me how to do this business. He didn’t even know me and he taught me how to do this business.”
Harvey also revealed that he reached out to Cosby amid his battle against a slew of sexual assault allegations, and praised the comedian’s character after he urged him to back off so that he wouldn’t be dragged down with Cosby.
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“When I heard all the trouble he was in, I called and asked him how he was doing. You know what he says to me? ‘Hey man, I appreciate you calling, but just stay away from me right now. You don’t need none of this on you. You’re doing good. Whatever happens to me, happens to me, but don’t get none of this on you,'” Harvey said. “That’s an amazing thing for a guy to say.”
Cosby, 80, has faced dozens of sexual assault allegations stretching back to the 1960s. He is currently awaiting a retrial after a Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial in June on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman.
Regardless of his relationship with the “Cosby Show” patriarch, Harvey nearly tarnished his reputation on his own thanks to a highly-criticized meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump in January, and a leaked memo to his staff that demanded they refrain from speaking to him on set.
Harvey told THR that his quick chat with Trump sparked serious backlash like he’s never seen.
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“It was so vicious that it really threw me. I was being called names that I’ve never been called: Uncle Tom. A coon. A sellout. Because I went to see this man?!” he recalled, adding that he should’ve listened to his wife, who urged him to skip the meeting.
As for the memo, Harvey says he has nothing to apologize for, since he wasn’t being mean – but he does worry that he may have damaged his image.
“Absolutely you get concerned,” he said. “That’s only human… Look, if you never turn around and face the problem, it swells and becomes this big, uncontrollable monster. So as soon as something happens to me, I immediately go, ‘Let’s dance with it a little bit and see what it really is.'”
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