Activists Plan to Protest Bill Cosby Performance at The Wilbur
Bill Cosby, who has been cast in a controversial spotlight over allegations that he sexually assaulted dozens of women throughout his Hollywood career, will be performing two shows at The Wilbur Theatre in Boston next month, and activists plan to speak out against the comedian’s appearance with posters, banners, and noisemakers.
“We are united with survivors who have come forward—and those who have yet to and choose not to report or share their stories—against Bill Cosby and his war against women,” according to details on a Facebook page called “United With Survivors: Bill Cosby Boston Protest,” which was created Friday.
Protest organizer Brandie Skorker, a Boston resident, questioned why The Wilbur decided to host Cosby amidst claims that the former The Cosby Show star allegedly sexually abused at least 30 women dating as far back as the 1970s. “I hope we can bring attention to this, and have people coming into the show know that there are people in Boston against him coming to Boston,” she said. “I hope it will make them think about what they are supporting, and amplify the voices of the survivors that are coming out against him.”
Back in October, during a performance in Philadelphia, comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby, 77, a “rapist,” drudging up allegations from an incident in 2004. He then told the audience members at his show to “go home” and “Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’”
In the following months, after the clip went viral, dozens of women came forward with details about alleged sexual assaults involving Cosby. But lawyer’s representing Cosby have repeatedly denied the claims. “These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years,” said Cosby’s lawyers in a recent statement.
Cosby has never been charged for sexual misconduct.
Cosby is scheduled to make back-to-back appearances at the Wilbur Theatre on February 8, at 5 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Tickets for the two-hour show are still on sale, according to a person who picked up the phone at the venue on Friday, and the performances have not sold out. The theater has no plans at this time to cancel Cosby’s appearances. Performances by Cosby in Nevada, Illinois, Arizona, South Carolina, and Washington state have been canceled in the past few months due to the allegations, according to the Associated Press.
Skorker said she hopes a month will give her enough time to organize as many people as possible to stand outside of the venue with signs and noisemakers, with the intent to get the comedian’s attention. She said she’s been collaborating on Facebook with others, and wants to host a meeting in the next week or so to solidify plans. “For some reason people think a month isn’t a lot of time to plan, but I think it is,” she said. “We will have a sign making event a week before, and give people an idea about supportive language to use.”
Skorker said she will take a cue from recent protests outside of Cosby’s performances in Canada, where more than 100 people lined the streets holding signs. It was during one of those shows, on Thursday night, that Cosby made a joke about the allegations, and told a female audience member who got up to get a drink “you have to be careful about drinking around me.” The joke was a reference to the fact that Cosby’s accusers have said he slipped drugs into their drink before allegedly assaulting them.
Skorker called the reference “disgusting.”
“It’s obnoxious” she said.