Comedy Controversy

Bill Cosby speaks at the Lewis Katz's memorial service at Temple University on June 4, 2014, in Philadelphia. (Michael Bryant/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT)

Bill Cosby to perform at Singletary Center

By Cheyene Miller

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Comedian Bill Cosby, who has come under public scrutiny in recent months due to numerous accusations of sexual assault and rape, is scheduled to make an appearance at UK.

Cosby will perform his latest standup special, “Bill Cosby 77,” at the Singletary Center for the Arts on March 15 at 7 p.m.

Nearly 30 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault and/or rape dating back to the 1960s. The performance comes in the wake of cancellations of public appearances featuring Cosby, in response to the allegations.

“Neither UK or the (Singletary) Center ‘invited’ Mr. Cosby here,” said Singletary Center director Michael Grice in a public statement conveyed to the Kentucky Kernel through UK public relations. “The center is not a presenting organization, just a venue for the event.”

According to the statement, the Singletary Center entered into a contractual agreement to rent their facility to Cosby’s promoter, National Artists Corporation, before the controversy surrounding Cosby began.

National Artists Corporation partner Carlos Larraz said that the corporation contacted UK about renting out the Singletary Center for the performance, as they had done business with UK before.

The 77-year-old comedian has not been formally charged and continues to do standup performances.

“The developments are ongoing regarding this tour, so things could change,” Grice said. “However, at this time, National Artists Corporation is contractually obligated to Cosby’s management and intends to execute the space rental contract for the show. UK (and the Singletary Center are) legally bound to honor the space rental contract with the promoter.”

Grice declined an interview with the Kentucky Kernel regarding the Cosby event.

The backlash against Cosby intensified after comedian Hannibal Buress grilled Cosby in his standup performance in Cosby’s hometown of Philadelphia in October. In the routine, Buress lambasted Cosby for acting as a highly regarded role model and voice for black Americans, despite being an alleged rapist.

The video of the routine went viral on both social media and news outlets. Actress Barbara Bowman wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?” Bowman wrote about testifying on behalf of Andrea Constand, who filed a lawsuit against Cosby for sexual assault in 2004.

Another notable allegation emerged when supermodel Janice Dickinson, the center of a segment on Entertainment Tonight in November 2014, said that Cosby raped her after a dinner in a Lake Tahoe hotel in 1982 after giving her wine and a pill that he claimed was for stomach pain.

Cosby has remained silent about the charges at the behest of his attorney, John P. Schmitt, who posted a public statement on Cosby’s website.

“Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced,” read the statement. “The fact they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”

Schmitt added that there would be no further comment from Cosby or his representatives.

Footage recently surfaced from a comedy show Cosby performed in Hamilton, Ontario on Friday.

Several crowd members heckled Cosby and chanted, “We believe the women.” The hecklers were asked to leave by security.