Associated Press reporter and Guild member Brett Zongker has found himself on the other side of the camera after the AP released the full video of his interview with Bill Cosby.
The AP released the full video about two weeks after Zongker interviewed Cosby and his wife, Camille, about their African-American art collection, some of which they had loaned to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.
During the on-camera exchange Zongker asked Cosby about the allegations and he replies, “No, no. We don’t answer that.”
Cosby then requested that none of the questions and answers about the allegations appear anywhere. “I would appreciate it if it was scuttled,” Cosby said.
“I think if you want to consider yourself to be serious,” Cosby said to the reporter, “that it will not appear anywhere.”
Zongker replied to Cosby, “OK. I appreciate what you’ve asked.”
“And we thought, by the way, because it was AP, that it wouldn’t be necessary to go over that question with you,” Cosby added.
The AP released the full video as more women came forward with sexual assault allegations against Cosby.
CNN’s Brian Stelter asked Zongker on “Reliable Sources” whether it was ethical to release the video of the exchange “that happened after the interview had formally ended.”
Zongker explained that no one had actually said the interview was over, no one had ever said this part was off the record, and Cosby continued to speak as the cameras were rolling. Stelter agreed it was fair game because “everything should be assumed to be on the record,” especially in a setting like that.
AP’s managing editor for entertainment news, Lou Ferrara, told NPR that the AP accepted no conditions on the interview, despite Cosby’s protests.
“There were no promises made,” Ferrara said. “That’s not what we do. That’s not in our DNA.”