Despite nearly 20 women coming forward with sexual abuse allegations against Bill Cosby, NBC cancelling a much-hyped prime-time return to television for the funnyman, TV Land nixing ‘Cosby‘ re-runs and Netflix indefinitely postponing a comedy special recorded on Cosby’s birthday, the iconic comedian stood before an adoring group of women in the Bahamas and joked about being an “evil man” while they laughed uproariously.
Cosby was performing at the Atlantis Resort Thursday night at a charity event for The Links, a prestigious and well-respected professional organization for African American women. As he took the stage, he addressed the allegations in a tongue-in-cheek way (perhaps, not the most appropriate way when the allegations pertain to serial sexual assault), joking through fake tears, “Parents are coming and taking their children home…and saying to me, ‘Bill Cosby, you are an evil man. We will never eat your Jell-O pudding again!’”
Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, said the allegations “have escalated far past the point of absurdity” and blames the media for feeding into the public flogging of his client:
“The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity.
These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.
Lawsuits are filed against people in the public eye every day. There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege they had been sexually assaulted.
This situation is an unprecedented example of the media’s breakneck rush to run stories without any corroboration or adherence to traditional journalistic standards. Over and over again, we have refuted these new unsubstantiated stories with documentary evidence, only to have a new uncorroborated story crop up out of the woodwork. When will it end? It is long past time for this media vilification of Mr. Cosby to stop.”
Anticipating backlash, Glenda Newell-Harris, National President The Links, released the following statement on behalf of her organization:
“The scheduling of Mr. Cosby to perform at the Nassau [Bahamas] Chapter’s fundraiser was done in good faith and in advance of the allegations coming to light. As a women’s organization committed to uplifting and empowering women, The Links, Incorporated does not tolerate crimes against women.
“Recent accusations against Bill Cosby are alarming and unsettling. We trust that the appropriate authorities will conduct a thorough investigation.”
When asked about the mounting allegations being levied against him before he took the stage in Melbourne, Florida on Friday, Cosby said that he shouldn’t have to respond to the media frenzy at all, telling Florida Today: “I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos,” he said. “People should fact check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.”
At the end of his performance Friday night, the crowd gave him another standing ovation.