Kennedy Center rescinds Cosby's honours, a first for the institution

The announcement came nearly two weeks after Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

(NYTIMES) - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced on Monday(May 7) that it had rescinded the honours it awarded to Bill Cosby, the first time the centre has taken such action.

The announcement came nearly two weeks after Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee.

In a statement, the Kennedy Center said the awards are "given to artists who, throughout their lifetime of work, have left an indelible impact on American culture.

"As a result of Mr. Cosby's recent criminal conviction, the board concluded that his actions have overshadowed the very career accomplishments these distinctions from the Kennedy Center intend to recognise." Cosby was awarded a Kennedy Center Honors prize for performing arts in 1998; he won the centre's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2009.

Since Cosby's conviction on April 26, many institutions have severed their ties with him. Last week, Cosby was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as was Roman Polanski. In late April, Cosby's honorary doctoral degree from his alma mater, Temple University, was also rescinded. Cosby had served on the board of the Philadelphia university and was also a leading fundraiser for the school.

Other universities have rescinded honorary degrees given to Cosby, including Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame and Wesleyan.

A sentencing date for Cosby, 80, has not yet been set. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison.

Cosby has been accused of abuse by over 50 women and faced one of the first high-profile trials in the wake of the #MeToo movement. He has denied the accusations.

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