LOS ANGELES — Calls by local civil rights activists for the Hollywood Walk of Fame to remove the star of actor and comedian Bill Cosby due to the ever-growing number of women accusing him of sexual assault are falling on deaf ears.
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Leron Gubler says the chamber, which operates the Walk of Fame, has never removed a star before and doesn’t plan to now.
“Once a star has been added to the walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” Gubler said. “Because of this, we have never removed a star from the walk.”
Project Islamic Hope Executive Director Najee Ali said his organization and the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable want to meet with Gubler to try and persuade him to change his mind.
“A face-to-face meeting will allow us to address our concerns about Cosby’s sexual misconduct directly and more effectively,” Ali said.
“Bill Cosby, by his own admission, obtained drugs in order to use with young women he wanted to have sex with,” Ali added. “As far as I’m concerned, Cosby is a serial rapist. Rape is rape … and we should all understand the devastating and traumatic pain that does to a woman for the rest of her life.
“Nearly 40 women have come forth publicly over the years stating that Cosby drugged and had sex with them without their consent, which is rape,” Ali added.
“Cosby deliberately placed himself in a position of high moral standards and told the African-American community [how they should act], while he was cheating on his wife and drugging and raping women nationwide. This is the epitome of hypocrisy revealed.
“Cosby has been lying to his wife, family, loved ones, friends, colleagues, fans, the community of African American students, and the entire African American community,” Ali concluded.
Criticism of Cosby has increased after a deposition he gave in a Pennsylvania lawsuit in 2005 was made public earlier this month.
In the deposition, Cosby admitted buying Quaaludes he intended to give to women he wanted to have sex with.
The deposition stemmed from a civil suit filed by Andrea Constand — one of the dozens of women who have publicly accused the Cosby of sexual assault.
Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson expressed his anger over Gubler’s decision not to remove Cosby’s star.
“It’s completely asinine that the chamber takes this position and violates its own ethics and policy,” Hutchinson said. “Honors have been taken away before when there was ample justification for doing so.
“We should also urge the president that continuing to list Cosby as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom makes a mockery of this honor. Perhaps if the president were to announce that Cosby’s name was to be stricken from the recipient’s list the chamber would be forced to follow suit,” Hutchinson added.
But on July 15, President Barack Obama said there is no precedent for revoking the U.S. Medal of Freedom.
“There’s no precedent for revoking a medal. We don’t have that mechanism,” he said during a White House press conference.
Former President George W. Bush awarded Cosby the medal on June 21, 2002. At the time, the White House praised Cosby for appealing to the “common humanity of his audience” through his famous sitcom and other performances.
Hutchinson and Ali have asked tourists and other visitors Hollywood to walk away from the Cosby star.
Also on July 15, Joseph Phillips, who portrayed Lt. Martin Kendall for three seasons on “The Cosby Show” and is a self-professed longtime admirer of Cosby, said he no longer doubts accusations of inappropriate behavior by his former idol.
“As the accusations began to increase, I became increasingly disturbed,” Phillips says in an essay posted on his website. “I was fairly certain that some of the women were lying through their teeth, but certainly not all of them.”
Many of Cosby’s upcoming live performances have been canceled or postponed amid the avalanche of accusations and several organizations have publicly distanced themselves from Cosby.
Central State University, a historically black college in Wilberforce, Ohio, says it has covered up Cosby’s name on a campus sign in front of a building named for him while Walt Disney World removed a statue of Cosby from its Hollywood Studios theme park in Florida last week.
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., has come under fire for allowing the contributed artwork of Cosby to remain in its National Museum of African Art.
“The National Museum of African Art in no way condones Mr. Cosby’s behavior. We continue to present “Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue” because it is fundamentally about the artworks and the artists who created them, not Mr. Cosby,” a Smithsonian official said.
Cosby and his management and publicist have remained silent during the recent turmoil.
“We have no plans to issue a statement,” Cosby’s longtime publicist David Brokaw said.
CNN reports contributed to this story.