By MMJN Students, Jasmine Byrd, Herman Fogus, Ja'Von Hill, Tramon Lucas and Camille Shoulders
Bill Cosby, who is scheduled to perform in Baltimore later this month, broke his silence earlier this week with a message to the public that “Hey, hey, hey, I’m far from finished,” after months of controversy.
Since last November, reports of sexual misconduct allegations spanning several decades have hounded the comedian. Cosby refused to make statements on the allegations and people questioned his credibility; however he released a video assuring his fans that “I’m still hilarious.”
Cosby’s tour, currently underway, stops at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric in Baltimore on March 27. Nicoletta Macris, marketing director at the Lyric, says that tickets are selling and most of the floor seats are sold.
“Personally, I would go because, regardless, I’m going to be a Bill Cosby fan for life,” said Julian Arrington, a student at Morgan State University. “I grew up watching him, I respect him, and I don’t believe that stuff. How do you come out 20 years later talking about rape, he didn’t rape anybody,”.
Marylanders have had an array of reactions to the controversies. Some, like Jekara Wright, join Arrington in viewing the allegations with suspicion. “I did see that these women are all on Facebook in a group, so I feel like that they can all rehearse their stories with each other, and I feel like it was made up,” Wright said.
“I think that more than likely something has happened. Something inappropriate has happened. However, I do not believe that every single woman that’s coming forward is telling the truth,” added Rhonda Williams of Charles County.
Temprest Myers, a Morgan student, did not mince her words.“The overall situation in my opinion is BS,” she said.
Others have expressed stunned disbelief. Dr. Kevin Banks, Vice President for Student Affairs at Morgan, found the allegations “alarming,”
“He’s been an icon on TV for years, so personally, I just hope that he gets due process if it goes before a court, because my memories of him have been so positive that it’s hard to fathom that he would conduct himself in such a way. But there’s been overwhelming testimonies about his behavior, so that’s scary.”
Still, Jasmine Kelly of Capitol Heights, MD, says,“I feel like Bill Cosby should be held accountable for his actions.”
Dr.Oluwatosin Adegbola, a professor at Morgan State University specializing in public relations, believes that it will take more to restore his credibility. In the video, Cosby does not directly refer to the scandal. As a public figure, Adegbola said, Cosby needs to address the issues head-on. “As humans who react to emotional triggers, will some people now decide there’s no way I could support this and if I go, I will support what he has done?” said the professor, who added : “I am sure there are some people that think that way.”
The Cosby tour was scheduled to make 77 stops across the country. However, many of them are being cancelled. In January, shows at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston and Jones Hall in Houston were cancelled. Theater directors in Champaign, IL., Green Bay, WI., and Tacoma, WA have announced April cancellations. In Atlanta, a women’s rights group began an online petition to prevent Cosby from performing. So far, the show at the Cobb Energy Performing Art Centre is still set for May 2.
The comedian whose skit about Cosby as a “rapist” sparked the intense scrutiny of Cosby’s treatment of women, Hannibal Buress, is scheduled to perform at the Lyric this weekend — two weeks before Cosby. The video of Buress’s skit in Philadelphia in October went viral on the Internet.