Shows axed as Cosby claims keep com­ing

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - LOS AN­GE­LES

V LEGEND Bill Cosby has de­nounced the sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions against him as “in­nu­endo”, but the claims keep com­ing, and more shows are be­ing can­celled, amid talk of the fall of an icon.

“He’s try­ing to go on with the show, but the dam­age may be ir­re­vo­ca­ble,” said celebrity bi­ble Peo­ple mag­a­zine, in a cover story on Mon­day on the 77-year-old long known as the na­tion’s favourite dad.

“It is not like he will never work again, but this has se­ri­ously com­pro­mised his fu­ture in en­ter­tain­ment,” said Robert Thomp­son, a pro­fes­sor of pop cul­ture at Syra­cuse Univer­sity in New York.

Peo­ple noted that Cosby sur­vived a civil law­suit brought by 13 women in 2005, but now claims by those al­leged vic­tims have been joined by fresh al­le­ga­tions from other women.

“The ac­cu­sa­tions keep com­ing – one dis­turbingly sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tion after another,” said the mag­a­zine un­der the strapline “The Fall of Bill Cosby”.

A pat­tern has emerged to the claims since the first ac­cuser An­drea Con­stand in 2004, in­volv­ing the al­leged vic­tim be­ing drugged and then forced into hav­ing sex with Cosby.

Although he has not been charged with a crime, 20 women have now made on-the-record claims of sex­ual as­sault dat­ing back to the 1960s, in­clud­ing when Cosby was at the height of his fame.

They were joined on Mon­day by a male for­mer stu­dio em­ployee who claimed he ar­ranged pay­ments for eight women when Cosby was work­ing on the land­mark TV se­ries The Cosby Show.

Frank Scotti, 90, a fa­cil­i­ties man­ager for the New York stu­dio where the show was filmed, said he or­gan­ised pay­ments of up to $2 000 at a time for the women, from 1984 to 1992.

“He had every­body fooled,” said Scotti, adding that Cosby had him put his own name on the money or­ders.

“No­body sus­pected. He was cov­er­ing him­self by hav­ing my name on it.”

Cosby’s lawyer, well-known Hol­ly­wood at­tor­ney Marty Singer, dis­missed the new claim.

“How would Scotti know if a woman was a model or a sec­re­tary? It ap­pears that his story is pure spec­u­la­tion so that he can get his 15 min­utes of fame,” he said.

Cosby him­self, who has de­clined for weeks to com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions, broke his si­lence over the week­end.

“I know peo­ple are tired of me not say­ing any­thing, but a guy doesn’t have to an­swer to in­nu­en­dos,” Cosby said.

“Peo­ple should fact check. Peo­ple shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t an­swer to in­nu­en­dos.”

Cosby was greeted with a stand­ing ova­tion at a show on Fri­day in Florida, lo­cal me­dia re­ported.

But his next show in Las Ve­gas next week­end has been called off, while there are re­ports of can­cel­la­tions in Ari­zona, New Jersey and Wash­ing­ton state.

“Can­celled” an­nounced a red banner slapped across Cosby’s face on the web­site of the Capi­tol The­atre in Yakima, Wash­ing­ton, where the comic was due to per­form on Novem­ber 29.

Last week, US net­work NBC pulled the plug on a new Cosby sit­com, a day after stream­ing video ser­vice Net­flix can­celled a planned spe­cial, pil­ing pres­sure on the veteran comic.

The storm en­gulf­ing Cosby erupted last month, when co­me­dian Han­ni­bal Buress branded him a “rapist” dur­ing a stand-up show in Philadel­phia, in a clip that went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia.

On Fri­day, Cosby’s lawyer said the abuse claims had “es­ca­lated far past the point of ab­sur­dity”.

“It is long past time for this me­dia vil­i­fi­ca­tion of Mr Cosby to stop,” he said.

Steve Bar­rett, ed­i­tor-in-chief of pub­lic re­la­tions in­dus­try jour­nal PR Week, said Cosby was mak­ing a mis­take by not talk­ing.

“Adopt­ing a pol­icy of si­lence is mak­ing him seem guilty in the eyes of pub­lic opin­ion,” he said.

“While this one-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­tin­ues, it is dif­fi­cult to see how his rep­u­ta­tion and legacy can re­main in­tact.” – Sapa-AP

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