Bill Cosby's Canadian shows go ahead as protests gear up

Wed Jan 7, 2015 5:01pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Bill Cosby, the subject of more than a dozen sex abuse allegations over the past three months, will go ahead with three Canadian shows this week as protesters geared up to heckle the comedian and some fans tried to offload their tickets.

Cosby, best-known as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," has had two television projects shelved and several standup performances canceled since the allegations started last year.

But performances in three cities outside Toronto are going ahead despite the controversy.

Demonstrations are planned outside each Canadian venue by supporters of sexual abuse survivors. Some Canadians were trying to sell their Cosby tickets on social media while others donated them to sexual assault support groups.

Cosby, 77, has never been charged over the allegations, which date as far back as the 1960s. He settled a 2005 civil suit that alleged sexual misconduct.

"We knew him as the warm Dr. Huxtable but the allegations paint a different picture and we can't really support that," said Wendy Carmichael, 62, who lost C$300 re-selling her four tickets to Wednesday's show.

Event promoter Innovation Arts & Entertainment said the venues are contractually obliged to hold the shows, but acknowledged it was an "unpopular" decision and urged protesters not to direct their vitriol at the venues or staff.

The head of a center for abused woman objected to Cosby's appearances.

"The entire issue of men's violence against women is not a joke, and for an alleged serial rapist to be performing on stage in London, Ontario, is entirely inconsistent with the views this community holds towards women," said Megan Walker, executive director of the London, Ontario-based Abused Women's Centre.   Continued...

Comedian Bill Cosby plays the vibraphone during "Three Score", at the Berklee College of Music's 60th anniversary concert, in Boston, Massachusetts in this January 28, 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Rick Friedman/Files