Sex abuse allegations mere innuendo, Cosby says
LOS ANGELES: Comedian Bill Cosby has spoken out against a wave of sexual assault allegations, saying he does not have to “answer to innuendos”.
Cosby, 77, spoke to the newspaper Florida Today on Friday, before performing his comedy routine at a theatre in Melbourne, Florida.
The comedian has refused to tackle questions about allegations made by a number of women who said he forced himself on them sexually, with some accusing him of drugging them first.
“I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos,” Cosby told Florida Today.
“People should fact-check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos,” he told the newspaper, in a story posted on its website on Friday.
Cosby received a standing ovation at the start of his 90minute show, which concluded without incident and without the comedian discussing the allegations.
A host at Orlando-based Real Radio 104.1 had asked people attending the show to ask Cosby about the allegations and film his response, and the station offered cash and prizes for the best footage. But no one in the audience confronted Cosby with a question.
The comedian told Florida Today that such offers to members of his audience risked creating a “frat house mentality”.
“Now suppose someone
Now suppose someone brings a weapon
brings a weapon or decided to do more foolishness,” he said.
“There will be announcements made and the stations made some disclaimers, but what if people don’t listen to what they said and they entice violence?”
The comedian has never been charged and his lawyers have said the assault claims had been discredited and were defamatory.
Cosby’s Las Vegas performance this week and four other shows in Arizona, Illinois, South Carolina and Washington state next year have been cancelled.
With NBC and Netflix also dropping projects with the comedian last week, the allegations have threatened Cosby’s wholesome public image and future viability in show business.
On Thursday night, Cosby appeared in the Bahamas at a benefit for a women’s service organisation.
The comedian is scheduled to perform at least 36 shows between now and May. – Reuters and Sapa-AP
ALLEGED VICTIM: Therese Serignese, 57, claims comedian and television icon Bill Cosby raped her in 1976 when she was 19 years old following a show in Las Vegas.
STANDING OVATION: Bill Cosby during a show in Florida on Friday.