BOSTON (Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby, who has been dogged by accusations that he sexually assaulted more than a dozen women years ago, has canceled a Sunday evening performance in Boston, saying the heavy snow forecast for the area could make travel dangerous.
Activists had planned to picket the evening performance at the Wilbur Theater, angry that Cosby continues to make appearances despite the allegations against him.
Cosby, best known for the lovable father figure he played on "The Cosby Show," denies the allegations of sexual assault, many of which are decades old and fall outside the statute of limitations for criminal or civil cases. His lawyer has called the claims "discredited" and "defamatory." Cosby has never been charged over any of the allegations. He settled a 2005 civil suit alleging sexual misconduct.
About a foot (30 cm) of fresh snow could accumulate in Boston on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, blanketing a region that is still grappling with the aftermath of two major snowstorms since the end of January.
"Mr. Cosby just wanted all people coming to his shows to be safe," said spokesman Andrew Miles. "It had nothing to do with any protests."
Despite the Boston cancellation, protesters said they still planned to demonstrate. "We are holding a solidarity action instead of a protest, same time and place," Brandie Skorker, 28, one of the protest organizers, said in an email.
Before the cancellation, organizers had expected more than 100 people to gather outside the theater, where the 77-year-old comedian was set to give back-to-back shows.
"There is strong community here in Boston who is passionate, concerned for survivors and dedicated to fighting against rape culture - even if that means protesting in the snow," Skorker said in an email last week.
The allegations against Cosby have led some venues to cancel some of his performances, including one that had been planned on Feb. 6 in Worcester, Massachusetts, about 40 miles (65 km) west of Boston. Both Netflix and NBC have axed planned projects with the actor.
Cosby owns a home in Shelburne Falls, about 100 miles (160 km) west of Boston, and he received his graduate degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In November, the university asked him to resign as the face of a fundraising campaign.
Cosby's statement indicated that he was considering rescheduling the Boston show but gave no specifics. "We are looking at some dates," Miles told Reuters.
Additional reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa; Editing By Frank McGurty, Robin Pomeroy and Frances Kerry