NBC, Netflix cancel Bill
Cosby's shows after sex assault claims
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[November 20, 2014]
By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - NBC
said on Wednesday it has canceled an upcoming project
with veteran comedian Bill Cosby, his second show to be
pulled after accusations that he sexually assaulted
women resurfaced in recent weeks.
The move by NBC comes a day after online streaming company
Netflix Inc said it was postponing Cosby's stand-up comedy
special "Bill Cosby 77," which was due to be released on Nov.
Cosby's lawyers have called the allegations of sexual assault
"discredited" and "defamatory."
Cosby's representative did not immediately respond to a request
for comment about the NBC and Netflix cancellations.
The damage to Cosby's career reached the reruns of "The Cosby
Show," a top-rate NBC comedy in which he played his most famous
role as the affable patriarch, Dr. Cliff Huxtable. A spokeswoman
for Viacom Inc's basic cable channel TV Land said the show is
being pulled from its schedule, without commenting further.
The 77-year-old Cosby is fighting to protect one of the most
storied careers in stand-up comedy and television. He is
scheduled to go ahead with a performance on Friday at a sold-out
show in Florida, the King Center for the Performing Arts said on
its website on Wednesday.
Comcast Corp-owned NBC said in a statement that "the Cosby
project is no longer in development," while declining to comment
further. The project was still in its early stages, with no
script delivered and no production date secured.
Allegations that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted several
young women decades ago gained renewed attention after comedian
Hannibal Buress called him a rapist during a stand-up comedy
routine last month.
Neither NBC nor Netflix referred to the accusations in their
In a previously unaired Associated Press television interview
released on Wednesday, Cosby declined to comment about Buress'
allegations. It was the first time the comedian has had any
response to questions other than silence.
"I don't talk about it," he said in the Nov. 6 interview,
flanked by his wife, Camille.
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After the interview and while cameras were still rolling, Cosby
asked that his response not be used. "I would appreciate it if it
was scuttled," he said.
Late Tuesday, model Janice Dickinson became the most high-profile
accuser against Cosby, telling Entertainment Tonight she believed
she had been sexually assaulted by Cosby in 1982.
In a letter received by Reuters, Cosby's lawyer Martin Singer called
Dickinson's claims "fabricated" and "an outrageous defamatory lie."
Representatives for Dickinson did not respond to a request for
comment. CBS said Dickinson will appear on the show on Wednesday to
address Cosby's lawyers.
COSBY MEME BACKFIRES
Cosby's camp unwittingly intensified the scandal on Twitter last
week by asking the comedian's followers to create viral memes about
him, and were instead barraged with memes about the rape
One of Cosby's accusers, former aspiring actress Barbara Bowman,
wrote in a Washington Post op-ed this month that Cosby had sexually
assaulted her on multiple occasions in 1985 when she was 17. She
said she never went to the police because she feared she would not
Cosby has never been charged with the alleged crimes.
"The Cosby Show" was a top-ranked show for NBC from 1984 to 1992 and
is credited with accelerating racial tolerance and even helping to
pave the way for a black U.S. president.
(Corrects spelling of 'Buress' in paragraph 10)
(Editing by Mary Milliken, Richard Chang, Bernard Orr and Ken Wills)
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