Murphy, who has a fraught history with Cosby, noted in his monologue on the program that he is currently the “stay-at-home” dad of 10 children, while Cosby is in prison — serving up to 10 years for a 2004 sexual assault.
“Who is America’s dad now?” Murphy mocked Cosby in a dig at his role as beloved father Cliff Huxtable on the sitcom “The Cosby Show.”
Publicist Andrew Wyatt described Cosby, 82, as a Hollywood pioneer who broke color barriers and paved the way for comedians like Murphy and Dave Chappelle, who also appeared in the monologue.
“It is sad that Mr. Murphy would take this glorious moment of returning to ‘SNL’ and make disparaging remarks against Mr. Cosby,” Wyatt said in a statement posted to Cosby’s Instagram. “One would think that Mr. Murphy was given his freedom to leave the plantation, so that he could make his own decisions; but he decided to sell himself back to being a Hollywood Slave.”
Wyatt appeared to accuse Murphy of playing to racist stereotypes.
“Stepin Fetchit plus cooning equals the destruction of Black Men in Hollywood,” Wyatt wrote. “Remember, Mr. Murphy, that Bill Cosby became legendary because he used comedy to humanize all races, religions and genders; but your attacking Mr. Cosby helps you embark on just becoming click bait.”
Wyatt called on Murphy to “having a meeting of the minds conversation in order to discuss how we can use our collective platforms to enhance Black people rather than bringing all of us down together.”
Wyatt wasn’t specific about objections to Murphy’s acting. Murphy has busted taboos in sendups of representations of Blacks — and whites. They include his twist on a portrayal of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” in a black community and his over-the-top characterization of Buckwheat in “Little Rascals.” He resurrected both characters Saturday from his days in the “SNL” cast.
On Saturday — the first time Murphy has hosted “SNL” in 35 years —his cranky Gumby character called “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che a “Black bastard.”
Given Cosby’s prison sentence, Twitter critics attacked Wyatt for his claim that Cosby has used comedy to try and “humanize ... genders.”
Murphy has complained in the past about Cosby’s treatment of him. He once recalled how Cosby called him on the phone and ordered him not to say fuck in his comedy routines.
Murphy could not immediately be reached for comment about the statement posted by Wyatt.