On Sunday evening, Bill Cosby, 77, performed in Northern California for the first time since numerous rape allegations against him have dominated the newswires. Fans paid $65 or more to see Cosby at the 1,000-seat Turlock Community Theater despite the allegations from over 20 women accusing Cosby of raping them. The theater had been sold out since last August.
Most of the attendees ignored Cosby’s sullied image, telling KCRA that they still respected Cosby’s work. Gladys Williams, who said she sympathized with Cosby’s wife, said, “I like the fact that he has a sense of family values in his show. I enjoy that.” Others simply hearkened back to Cosby’s TV show: Katie Meador said, “I grew up with him, watching him on TV. My brother had record albums of his comedy act that were just timeless.” Still others doubted the allegations made against the comedy star.
Suzette Sims, the only protester outside the venue, saw it differently. She told KRCA, “I’ve watched the interviews on CNN. I’ve listened to the women. I’ve done research and I believe they can’t all be lying.”
On Saturday, Cosby had performed in Denver, where protesters gathered outside. CBS quotedVariety co-editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein, who said, “When you look at the way Bill Cosby has just continued to perform, it suggests either that he’s kind of tone deaf to what is going on here or simply chosen to persevere in hopes that perhaps he could beat this by just hanging in there.”
24 women have publicly accused Cosby of sexual assault.
The alleged assaults date back as far back as 1967 but also include far more recent allegations.