While Bill Cosby was greeted with a standing ovation at a Florida event Friday – one of the few in recent days that wasn’t canceled in light of the mounting allegations against him – his attorney in Hollywood lashed out at the media for publicizing “decades-old events” that are “completely illogical.”
“The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40 or even 50 years ago have escalated past the point of absurdity,” said attorney Martin Singer in a statement.
“These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.
“Lawsuits are filed against people in the public eye every day,” Singer continued. “There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they alleged they had been sexually assaulted. This situation is an unprecedented example of the media’s breakneck rush to run stories without any corroboration or adherence to traditional journalistic standards It is long past time for this media villification of Mr. Cosby to stop.”
Though Cosby’s future job prospects look increasingly grim – AP reports that several more venues in Oklahoma, Nevada, Illinois and Arizona, among others, announced they were scrapping plans to host his concerts – the 77-year-old comedian broke his silence Friday by telling a Florida newspaper that he shouldn’t have to defend himself against “innuendos.”
“I know people are tired of me not saying anything,” Cosby told the newspaper. “People should fact check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.”
As accusers continued to surface – the most recent one is Beth Ferrier, though her accusations aren’t new; she was Jane Doe #5 in Andrea Constand’s 2006 civil suit against Cosby – the comedian took the stage in Melbourne, Florida, and was met with a standing ovation. (Before the show began, a single photo of Cosby with the late Nelson Mandela was projected on the stage.)
During his 90-minute show (in which he wore a sweatshirt that read “HELLO FRIEND”), Cosby waxed on about his youth – how he once stole money from the church offering plate to buy ice cream and how his uncle was the one to explain where babies came from.
Though a local radio station offered pay ticketgoers to heckle Cosby, there were no disruptions during the show other than one fan yelling, “We love you Bill Cosby!”
Cosby never once mentioned the scandal.
It’s unclear what toll, if any, the allegations have taken on Cosby financially. Though NBC scrapped a deal to develop a family comedy with him and Netflix postponed a planned comedy special, a great deal of Cosby’s wealth was amassed from his run on NBC’s The Cosby Show, which provided the comedian with a six-figure salary on a weekly basis along with a share of the profits when the show went into syndication.
Before the scandal broke, Cosby was reaping financial awards from comedy concerts and commencement speeches, which fetch him up to $100,000 per appearance, according to one course close to the comedian. It seems certain that the days of receiving big TV paychecks are over.
“His career is over. It’s done,” says one Hollywood crisis expert. “There’s no salvation from this. Why would anybody want to go into business with this guy now?”
• With reporting by ELIZABETH LEONARD, STEVE HELLING and J.D. HEYMAN