Two of three shows saw disruptions from audience
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
Despite repeated protests and several cancelled shows, Bill Cosby proceeded with three Ontario comedy performances last week.
The shows took place in Kitchener at the Centre in the Square on January 7, London at Budweiser Gardens on January 8, and Hamilton at Hamilton Place Theatre on January 9. Each show reportedly did not sell out, and while the Kitchener show was reported as having gone smoothly, disruptions happened at the London and Hamilton shows.
Prior to the London show’s start, attendees were handed out white slips as they entered the venue. The slips read, “Patrons have a right to enjoy tonight’s performance. Disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated and will result in removal, possible legal action, and/or banning from the venue.”
Later that evening, Cosby is quoted as having said, “You have to be careful about drinking around me,” in response to a woman in the audience who had gotten up to a drink. Critics have responded negatively to the line and interpreted it as Cosby attempting to make light of the almost 30 separate sexual assault accusations towards him, some of which have claimed he spiked drinks.
Following the joke, a man reportedly stood up during the middle of the routine shouting, “You’re a rapist.” Media outlets have stated the man was escorted out by security, questioned, and then left the building.
The Hamilton show saw a bigger disruption early into the evening as various men and women stood up and revealed shirts that read, “We believe the women.” The people were eventually removed from the venue by security and the show continued on.
Since last November, numerous sexual assault allegations against Cosby have been made or re-introduced to the public. Several victims had previously come forward years earlier, such as Andrea Constand whom met Cosby in 2002, lawyer Tamara Green who claimed Cosby assaulted her in the ‘70s, and Barbara Bowman.
Constand’s claims made a civil lawsuit, but the case was reportedly settled outside of court.
2005 and 2006 saw many of the reports occur in succession, but it was not until November 2014 that the allegations would see another media frenzy.
The latest women to come forward with allegations are Linda Kirkpatrick, Lynn Neal, and a woman going by the name of “Kacey,” all of who are being represented by Gloria Allred. The allegations were announced January 7, the same evening as Cosby’s Kitchener show.
While some other performances have since been cancelled in the US, such as in Connecticut, Nevada, and New Jersey, Cosby currently has another 15 shows lined up on his 2015 comedy tour.