Walking away from Cosby: Deserters continue to add up


Associated Press

The sexual-assault allegations against Bill Cosby already had damaged his career even before The Associated Press revealed last week that he admitted under oath in 2005 to obtaining quaaludes to give to young women he wanted to have sex with. But now even the hangers-on are walking away.

Here’s a look at the efforts to erase Cosby, and who’s sticking with him:

MEDAL OF FREEDOM

Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment, a group supporting sexual assault victims, launched a campaign Wednesday to revoke Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom.

As of midday Saturday, more than 5,500 people had signed the petition posted on the White House’s “We the People” website. If the petition gets 100,000 signatures by Aug. 7, the White House will review it and respond.

President George W. Bush presented the nation’s highest civilian honor to Cosby in 2002, citing his revolutionary portrayal of blacks on TV and his dedication to education.

“Bill Cosby’s name does not belong among this distinguished list,” the group said.

OHIO COLLEGE

A historically black college in southwest Ohio has covered up Bill Cosby’s name on a campus sign in front of a building named for him.

Edwina Blackwell Clark, a spokeswoman for Central State University in Wilberforce, told the Dayton Daily News that the school has covered up Cosby’s name on a sign in front of the Camille O. and William H. Cosby Mass Communications Center. The university said last week it was considering changing the name of the building. A final decision could be made this fall.

HOMETOWN MURAL

The Mural Arts Program in Cosby’s native Philadelphia is considering removing a work featuring the entertainer.

“Recent headlines” factored into its decision to move the mural much higher on a list of works up for decommissioning, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The mural celebrating Father’s Day features Cosby in a trademark purple sweater between South African leader Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

It went up in 2008 but was considered for decommissioning because the wall where it’s painted is in bad shape.

WALT DISNEY WORLD

Walt Disney World removed a statue of Cosby from its Hollywood Studios theme park in Florida after it closed Tuesday night, a spokeswoman said. The statue was at Disney’s Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza.

HOW INDUSTRY IS RESPONDING

NBC already had walked away from plans to make another Cosby sitcom, TV Land took reruns of the 1980s-era “The Cosby Show” off the air, and Netflix shelved plans for a standup special.

Last week, the Bounce television network pulled reruns of the comedian’s CBS sitcom “Cosby.”

The smaller Centric cable network, which is affiliated with BET and aimed at black women, said it was dropping “The Cosby Show.” However, Hulu is offering every episode of “The Cosby Show,” and Amazon still offers it streaming, along with DVDs.

WALK OF FAME STAR

Black civil-rights leaders Thursday called on the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove Bill Cosby’s star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, saying it could otherwise become a “walk of shame.”

“Cosby to black America, is an icon, but once an icon figure betrays the trust of the community, we have to withdraw our support and condemn their actions,” said Najee Ali, who sought the star’s removal. “If they don’t remove that star, we can call it the walk of shame.”

The chamber said it had no plans to remove Cosby’s star.

SMITHSONIAN

The Smithsonian Institution is standing behind a museum exhibition that relies in part on the art collection of Bill Cosby and his wife. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art opened the exhibition of African and African-American artwork in November.

The museum said Tuesday that it does not condone Cosby’s behavior but that the exhibit is about the artworks and the artists, not the collections’ owners.

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