“We don’t have that mechanism,” Obama said during a press conference about the U.S.’s nuclear deal with Iran.
Although he said he couldn’t comment on “the specifics” of the allegations against the comedian, the president broke his silence on the scandal, saying:
“I’ll say this. If you give a woman, or a man for that matter, a drug and then you have sex without their consent, that’s rape. And I think this country – any civilized country – should have no tolerance for rape.”
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The sexual assault awareness group PAVE (Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment) has called on the president to revoke Cosby’s medal – which he received in 2002 – after more than 40 women came forward to accuse the comedian of sexually assaulting them.
Angela Rose, executive director of the group, said in a statement following the press conference:
“The president said there is no precedent for revoking the Medal of Freedom, but there’s also no precedent for the nation giving its highest honor to a man accused by dozens of women and admitting to obtaining drugs to people he wanted to have sex with. That this is an unprecedented action is the point – we need to show zero tolerance for sexual assault.”
Cosby’s lawyer has denied the accusations, calling them “utter nonsense.”
It was recently revealed that Cosby admitted in 2005 court documents that he gave quaaludes to a woman and then had sex with her.