Cosby controversy reaches White House

A worker cleaning Bill Cosby's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in this 2014 photo, after it was reportedly vandalised the night before with the word "rapist" written multiple times.
A worker cleaning Bill Cosby's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in this 2014 photo, after it was reportedly vandalised the night before with the word "rapist" written multiple times.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • Bill Cosby's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame will not be removed, organisers said on Thursday, but other honours given to the beleaguered comedian came under assault in the face of mounting sexual abuse allegations against him.

Mr Leron Gubler, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce which administers the iconic pink and gold stars, said in a statement: "The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a registered historic landmark. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk,"

He was responding to a call from a small Los Angeles activist group following Cosby's admission 10 years ago that he obtained powerful sedatives with the aim of giving them to women to have sex.

Cosby's Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded in 2002, has also been questioned. A national non-profit organisation on sexual assault prevention, Pave, had gathered some 2,900 signatures by Thursday in a petition asking the White House to revoke the medal. About 100,000 signatures are needed before the White House will review such petitions.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Wednesday told reporters he did not know whether it was legally possible to revoke a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In Cosby's hometown of Philadelphia, a 2008 mural featuring the entertainer alongside late South African leader Nelson Mandela and other black heroes is expected to be removed.

A spokesman for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program said the work was already deteriorating, but that this week's unsealed 2005 testimony on the sedatives is expediting considerations for its removal.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'Cosby controversy reaches White House'. Print Edition | Subscribe