Though comedian Bill Cosby canceled two Sunday night shows at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre by blaming the snowstorm, local activists feel differently.
“I think [the cancellation] might have been due to the pressure of the media and the interviews we’ve been having,” said activist Brandie Alexander, one of the forces behind an organized push protesting Cosby’s Feb. 8 shows. “I consider this a success.”
The cancellations came as yet another accuser came forward with allegations of sexual assault against the 77-year-old entertainer.
Actress Helen Gumpel, formerly known as Helen Selby, said Sunday that Cosby made sexual advances and lewd gestures toward her in 1988, while she was on the set of the show.
Cosby denied the allegations and has never been charged with a crime.
In a statement he made to his fans, Cosby made no mention of the protests or accusation, saying, “No need to worry, I will be back soon to raise the roof with laughter. I thank you, the theatre staff, the event organizers and the Boston Community for your love and support.”
However, Alexander said Cosby can expect local protesters to turn out in full force if he books another gig in Massachusetts.
“We're going to keep it up, and if he does decide to come back to Boston we will protest. We will have even more time to organize,” she said. “If he returns in the spring or summer, anywhere in Massachusetts, we will be there.”
Her group, which has been active on a Facebook page entitled “United with Survivors: Bill Cosby Boston Protest,” planned to picket Sunday’s performances, but with the cancellation, they instead decided to hold a showing of solidarity.
About 35 people turned out with signs and banners to hear from survivors of sexual violence.
“We will follow through and make sure The Wilbur knows we won’t tolerate them contracting a sexual predator, or people who abuse women and make jokes about it on the stage,” said Alexander