A spokeswoman for Bill Cosby clarified what the disgraced TV icon has in mind with his planned “town halls” that were mentioned just after a mistrial was declared in his criminal trial in Pennsylvania on sexual assault charges.
His plans drew widespread outrage, including from sexual assault support groups and women’s advocacy organizations.
The Huffington Post quotes attorney Nancy Erika Smith, who represented former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson in her sexual harassment case against Roger Ailes, saying of Cosby’s plan: “It’s like O.J. searching for his ex-wife’s killer. He convinces some jurors that he wasn’t guilty beyond a reasonable doubt (a high standard) so now he thinks we’re all stupid. He’s beyond disgusting.”
The Mercury News reports that Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of the women’s advocacy organization UltraViolet, said in a statement that the group initially thought reports of the planned town halls were a joke.
“Turns out, it’s not,” she said. “Let’s call this tour what it really is: Bill Cosby’s ‘how to get away with rape and sexual assault’ tour.”
Cosby family spokeswoman Ebonee Benson responded to the criticism in an interview with CNN over the weekend, saying: “I just want to be clear. The town hall meetings are not about sexual assault. I will repeat: These town hall meetings are not about sexual assault.”
The AP adds: “The town halls are aimed at restoring Cosby’s legacy, and that’s what she and fellow Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt meant to say during an Alabama TV station interview last week.”
Said Benson, in the CNN interview: “It is about continuing on with what Mr. Cosby started 50 years ago when he began in the entertainment business, which is the importance of community, importance of education.”