LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bill Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame will not be removed, organizers said on Thursday, but other honors given to the beleaguered comedian came under assault in the face of mounting sexual abuse allegations against him.
“The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a registered historic landmark. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk,” Leron Gubler, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce which administers the iconic pink and gold stars, said in a statement.
Gubler was responding to a call from a small Los Angeles activist group following Cosby’s admission 10 years ago that he obtained powerful sedatives with the aim of giving them to women to have sex.
More than 2,500 entertainers have stars placed in the sidewalk of the 1.3-mile (2-km) attraction in Hollywood.
The career of the once beloved star of TV comedy “The Cosby Show” has been wrecked by allegations from more than 40 women who say Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them.
Crosby, 77, has not been criminally charged and his attorneys have denied the allegations.
Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded in 2002, has also been questioned. A national non-profit on sexual assault prevention, PAVE, had gathered some 2,900 signatures by Thursday in a petition asking the White House to revoke the medal. Some 100,000 signatures are needed before the White House will review such petitions.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Wednesday told reporters he did not know whether it was legally possible to revoke a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“This administration has been very focused on countering sexual assault and doing so in a variety of settings,” Earnest said.
In Cosby’s hometown of Philadelphia, a 2008 mural featuring the entertainer alongside late South African leader Nelson Mandela and other black heroes is expected to be removed.
Cari Feiler Bender, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, said the work was already deteriorating, but that this week’s unsealed 2005 testimony on the sedatives is expediting considerations for its removal.
“Before it was just allegations and now there are facts,” Bender said adding, “you could be on the fence earlier, but it’s hard to be on the fence now.”
Reporting by Katherine Davis Young in Los Angeles, Elizabeth Daley in Philadelphia and Emily Stephenson in Washington; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Eric Beech