At a Washington eatery that sits at the heart of the black culture and history it celebrates, the entertainer’s fall from grace poses painful questions

People stopped, stared and posed for photos. A colourful mural on the side of Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant, a lynchpin of African American life in Washington, included Barack and Michelle Obama, Muhammad Ali, Prince and Harriet Tubman. It included actor Taraji P Henson and rapper Wale. But one prominent local figure was missing.

“Is this where Bill Cosby used to be?” asked Vivian Staine, 30, a nurse and studio owner, as she beheld the artwork for the first time. “It’s kind of shocking to see Bill Cosby is down after he’s been here so long.”

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