Wave Staff and Wire Reports
HOLLYWOOD — Comedian Bill Cosby is heading to prison, but his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame isn’t going anywhere.
Reaffirming a stance it has repeatedly taken over the years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce issued a statement Sept. 25 insisting it does not remove stars from the famed walk.
“The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a historical record of entertainment figures past and present,” the chamber’s statement said. “Once installed, the stars become part of the historic fabric of the Walk of Fame, a ‘designated historic cultural landmark,’ and are intended to be permanent.
“The stars only commemorate the recipient’s professional accomplishments. It is regrettable when the personal lives of inductees do not measure up to public standards and expectations, however, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce does not remove stars from the Walk of Fame.”
Over the weekend, local civil rights activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson said he collected more than 1,000 petition signatures calling for the removal of Cosby’s star in light of his April conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University staffer Andrea Constand in his Pennsylvania home in 2004. He has been accused by dozens of women of committing similar crimes, but has maintained his innocence.
Cosby, 81, was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison.
Hutchinson called the chamber’s refusal to remove the star “despicable and hypocritical.” He said the decision “sends the horrible message that keeping a celebrity star is more important even when confronted with the issue of rape and violent sexual assault.”
“I have been hard line, uncompromising and relentless in my criticism of Bill Cosby’s sexual crimes and in my withering call for justice for his victims,” Hutchinson said on his website, The Hutchinson Report. “Yet, I must say that I felt a pang of deep remorse and sadness in gazing at the picture of Cosby being led out of the Pennsylvania courtroom with his head bowed and his hands manacled.
“It was painful because it was Cosby and because I am a black man who feels the pain of countless numbers of black men that are victimized by a top-heavy racially warped criminal justice system, men who daily are marched in and out of America’s courts and jails in those same manacles.”
Hutchinson continued: “In gazing at Cosby cuffed, head down, and now sharing the same fate as many of those men, my mind went back to that day at a Hollywood club years ago when Cosby sat at a table across from me. He was then one of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars.
“I watched as he greeted the stream of well-wishers and admirers that stopped at his table with a warm smile and a hand shake. He was even then well on the way to becoming a beloved and much-admired personality, role model and wholesome image ambassador for thousands of black men.”
Hutchinson said he didn’t want to believe the rumors and innuendos about Cosby’s alleged sexual misdeeds.
“The accusations just couldn’t be true about Black America’s hero and number one family dad,” he said.
“When the rumors became more than just rumors and dozens of women stepped forth to confirm them, it was just too much. … There were just way too many women of too many diverse backgrounds and from too many far-flung places saying the same thing about our hero.”