Rape allegations vex Bill Cosby’s second Canadian show
(CNN) — In a rare reference to the sexual assault allegations against him, Bill Cosby told a woman attending his comedy show that, “you have to be careful about drinking around me.”
The comment came during an otherwise lighthearted moment in his standup show Thursday night in London, Ontario, as a woman near the front row got up to go get a drink and Cosby asked her where she was going.
The remark is likely to anger his accusers who have demanded he respond to the allegations of sexual abuse against him.
Minutes after that incident a heckler was ejected from the performance by police after yelling ‘Bill Cosby you’re a rapist’. During the incident Cosby did not confront the man and encouraged the audience to remain calm and patient. He resumed his comedy show within a few minutes.
In a statement released through his public relations firm Cosby says, “One outburst but over 2600 loyal, patient and courageous fans enjoyed the most wonderful medicine that exist for human-kind. Laughter. I thank you, the theatre staff (Budweiser Gardens), the event organizers and the London, ON Community for your continued honor and support. I’m Far From Finished.”
More than a hundred protesters gathered outside the performance, some shouting “shame” and “Bill Cosby is a rapist.”
Protesters sound off
Milena LeDuc was one of the protesters, braving frigid temperatures and asking ticket holders to abandon the show.
“Why would you want to pay to see a rapist?” she said.
“These are very serious allegations, and I think he’s not taking them seriously and in this day and age these need to be taken seriously,” added protestor Dan Hilton, who said he was once a Cosby fan and considers him a comedy pioneer.
Inside the venue, which was about half full, large pictures of Cosby with Nelson Mandela framed the stage. He was warmly greeted and received his second standing ovation in as many nights.
Bruce Maslen called the performance awesome and said the protestors and hecklers didn’t spoil a thing.
“I don’t believe he’s been charged with anything and at least in this country you’re innocent until proven guilty,” said Maslen.
“Alternative event” held
No charges have been filed against Cosby, and his attorneys have vehemently denied the allegations of sexual assault against him made by several women.
Thursday night’s performance was the second of three scheduled Canadian performances for Cosby. About a dozen protestors showed up outside of Wednesday night’s show in Kitchener, Ontario, but there were no disruptions during the performance. Hundreds turned out for a so-called “alternative event” to support and raise money for victims of sexual assault.
Sue Gillespie was one of those who attended the “Voices Carry”event on Wednesday night. She says the controversy over the allegations against Cosby is an opportunity for communities to help sexual assault victims.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for the community to do something positive. They felt a need to respond and this was a good way to do it. This was a peaceful alternative,” said Gillespie, who runs a community-based mental health charity and advocates for victims of sexual abuse.