Addressing journalists today during the network's Television Critics Association's winter press tour panel, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said that he didn't think Bill Cosby's multiple sexual assault allegations "was a problem until it became critical."

NBC axed their planned Cosby comedy pilot in November as more and more women came forward with their stories of sexual abuse by the comedian, who has for decades dodged allegations.

When BuzzFeed's Jarett Wieselman asked why the years of accusations against Cosby were apparently not a factor in the network's decision to work with the comedian, Greenblatt replied:

Yeah, you know, 15 women came out and accused him of doing, you know, what they accused him of. And while, over the years, we'd heard some of those accusations, and we knew there were a couple of settlements and whatnot, it didn't seem to be the sort of thing that was critical mass. And, you know, when we realized that there seemed to be so much more of it, it wasn't something that we could just go, 'Oh, we're not sure.' I mean, look … He hasn't been sort of proven guilty of anything, so I don't want to be the one that says, 'Guilty until proven innocent.' But when that many people come out and have similar complaints, it becomes such a tainted situation. You know, there was no way we could move forward with it.

As BuzzFeed's Kate Aurthur reports, HitFix's Daniel Fienberg fired back, and asked how many accusers it takes to reach this so-called "critical mass."

"I guess what just happened two months ago," Greenblatt responded.

"So 15, yes? Two or three, no?" Fienberg pressed further.

"You want me to put a number on it? Fifteen, yes. Two, no. Do you really want me to answer that question?" Greenblatt replied, with apparent visible irritation. "All I can tell you is there's a lot of people who've been in business with Cosby for 25 years, and go ask them the same question. I just answered what I can answer. I didn't think it was a problem until it became critical."

Greenblatt also confirmed what had long been rumored about the Cosby pilot: there was no script.

"We were developing a script that we never even got a first draft of," he said. "So it wasn't something that was imminently going forward, or even into production. I guess I can only say I'm glad we're out from under that."

Update: As Aurthur points out, that a finished script never made its way to NBC wasn't a rumor; the network had gone on the record before saying as much.

[Images via Getty]