Just 15 minutes into a Baltimore, MD, show Friday night, comedian Bill Cosby’s routine was interrupted by protesters in the balcony of the Modell Performing Arts Center.
Hours before, two additional women had come forward to accuse the embattled former family icon of sexual assault; they join a group of more than 30 women who have lodged similar accusations against Cosby since November.
The Washington Post reports about 35 protesters surrounded the building’s entrance Friday night, while those inside the venue demanded he respond to the continued allegations; something Cosby has refused to do.
“38 women spoke up and called you a rapist. 38 women!” a man yelled.
Cosby’s fans reportedly countered the protesters by yelling, “shut up,” while the comedian simply pleaded for quiet by waving his hands toward the floor of the stage.
“Just remain calm,” he told his audience. “We are here to enjoy my gift. We are not here to argue. Let those people speak. We will find them and ask them to leave.”
After the protesters were gone, The Post reports Cosby continued his routine unabated, as fans shook off the serious tone left in the wake of the uncomfortable moment. Cosby was of course wearing his signature grey sweat-suit, decorated with the words “HELLO FRIEND.”
The venue’s management also reportedly refused to sell bottled water, as security worried one might be thrown at Cosby.
Picketers outside were vocal in their criticism of the show. “You should be ashamed of yourself,” Sonja Kinzer said of people who paid for tickets. Other protesters shared a similar point of view.
Cosby has denied all accusations that he drugged and raped multiple women during the course of his long career and has refused to take questions regarding the ever-growing list of claimants.
On Friday, women’s-rights attorney Gloria Allred held a press conference in Los Angeles to introduce the latest Cosby accusers, two women named Sunni Welles and Margie Shapiro.
USA TODAY reports Allred chose Friday because of Cosby’s scheduled performance in Baltimore, which was followed by one in Charleston, WV, on Saturday night.
“I have been asked how many more victims there are,” Allred stated. “Only Mr. Cosby knows the answer to that question but I can assure him that I have more who have not yet come forward, but who will speak out in the future.”
In his March 9 video statement, the comedian invited fans to his upcoming shows. “You know I’ll be hilarious. Can’t wait!” he said.
Cosby also included a message with the video but made no mention of the allegations: “Dear Fans: I hope you enjoy my wonderful video message that’s filled with laughter. Hey, hey, hey, I’m far from finished.”
Wednesday, comedienne Chelsea Handler joined the scandal by recalling a “weird” run-in she had with the star in 2005. She simply stated: “He tried to Cosby me.”
Handler claimed Cosby invited her up to his Atlantic City, NJ, hotel room and asserted she felt protected only because she visited with a group of friends.