Bill Cosby, the 85-year-old comedian convicted in 2018 of sexual assault, plans to go on tour in 2023, even as five new sexual assault allegations were filed against the comedian by five women a few weeks ago. Cosby last toured in 2018, the same year he was convicted. Cosby canceled a 2021 tour because of legal implications.
Despite his conviction, Cosby is at large because, after serving nearly three years of a three- to 10-year sentence, his conviction was overturned for a violation of his due process rights.
The tour is tentatively scheduled for “around spring, summer or late summer” 2023, according to Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s publicist and crisis manager, quoted by NPR. Wyatt said Cosby has “hundreds of thousands of supporters who are just begging him to make a presentation.”
Wyatt doesn’t think the new indictment will affect Cosby’s plans. “People have looked at the allegations, they’ve looked at the information, and it’s a scam,” Wyatt said.
Asked by Ohio online radio station WWGH host Scott Spears about whether he might go on tour in 2023, Cosby replied, “Yes, because this storytelling that I do is so much fun. Years ago, maybe 10 years ago, I found it was better to say it after I wrote it.”
History of sexual assault
Nearly 60 women accused Cosby of sexual assault in the early days of the #MeToo movement, which sought to hold abusers in the entertainment industry, such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, accountable for sexual harassment and assault.
A Pennsylvania jury found Cosby guilty in 2018 of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually violating a woman at his Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, home in 2004.
Cosby was sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison. However, in 2021 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction for prosecutorial misconduct that had violated Cosby’s right to due process.
In 2005 a former district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, promised Cosby that he would not prosecute him in exchange for his testimony. However, that same testimony was later used in a trial against him.
Five women filed new sexual assault lawsuit
In early December, five women, including two actresses from The Cosby Show, filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Cosby and NBC based on New York state’s new law, known as the Adult Survivors Act, which allows victims to sue abusers even after the original actions are time-barred.
The new law, signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul in May, opens a one-year window for adult victims to sue their abusers for sexual assault, regardless of when the assault occurred.
The women allege that Cosby raped them or forced them to perform sexual acts with him.
Four of the allegations date back to the late 1980s, when the actor was at the height of his fame as the star of The Cosby Show broadcast on NBC, while the fifth dates to 1969 and was brought by a former Hollywood executive.
Wyatt called the lawsuits “frivolous” and said the five women were part of the same “parade of accusers” that was filed between 2014 and 2016.
With information from Univision