In his London, Ontario show on Thursday night, Bill Cosby jokingly told a woman to be careful when drinking around him. The joke, made in response to the allegations of sexual assault surrounding the comedian, darkened an otherwise lighthearted show, causing one fan to burst out from the crowd and accuse Cosby of being a rapist. Protesters also braved the cold outside the venue to deter fans from “seeing a rapist perform.”
Over 15 women have reported being sexually assaulted by Cosby in recent months, with many accusing the comedian of drugging them or slipping something in their drinks in order to molest them. While no charges have been pressed against “America’s Dad,” one woman is suing him for alleged molestation in 1974 while three others have sued, saying his denial of the allegations defamed them. Despite the many rumors mounting against the comedian, many remain loyal to Cosby, as is evident by his recent tour of Canada.
During his recent shows, Cosby has been the recipient of not one, but two, standing ovations for his past few performances. It seems that in spite of current publicity, Cosby is still able to keep the crowd going. However, not everyone at Thursday’s show appreciated his making light of the allegations. During the show, a woman in the audience got up to grab a drink. When asked where she was going, Cosby joked that she should be careful drinking around him. Moments later, a heckler was escorted from the show by police officers after yelling that the comedian was a rapist.
As supportive fans booed the disturbance, Cosby hushed them saying to just ignore the statement. Later, during the show, the comedian made his first formal statement regarding the allegations. In the statement, he thanked his 2,600 loyal and patient fans for their attendance of his show, noting that the outburst did nothing to dampen their good time. He continued to thank organizers of the event, theater staff, and others for their contributions before finally stating, “I’m far from finished.”
Outside, protesters gathered in an effort to keep fans from seeing the performance. Many complained that the comedian’s avoidance of the issue led them to believe he did not take the allegations seriously. They continued their grievances, saying that in this day and age, it is important to take instances of sexual assault seriously rather than making jokes about it. However, as noted in his statement, the protesters did little to deter fans from seeing the show.
Other forms of protest surfaced as Cosby’s Canadian tour continued, with many attending an alternative event offered by those in opposition of the comedian’s performance. The event, called “Voices Carry,” was held in order to raise money and gain support for victims of sexual assault. The more peaceful alternative had hundreds in attendance with supporters calling the event a great opportunity to raise awareness of the issues at hand.
While the allegations of sexual assault against Cosby mount, it does not seem to be deterring the comedian from making jokes about the subject matter. His latest joke for women to be careful when drinking around him caused some disturbance at Cosby’s Thursday night performance in London, Ontario. However, as the comedian has not been formally charged, many still remain loyal to the stand-up artist, saying he is innocent until proven guilty.
By Carly Szabo