Anna Sheffer
January 23, 2018 2:11 pm
Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Even before the #MeToo movement began as a tool to fight rape culture, comedian Bill Cosby was disgraced by sexual assault accusations. But on the evening of January 22nd, despite the allegations against him, Cosby performed in public for the first time since 2015.

The last-minute routine took place in Philadelphia’s LaRose Jazz Club. According to NPR, about 50 people watched Cosby’s performance, which involved the former comedian telling stories about his childhood, scatting, and drumming with the band. At one point, Cosby joked that he “used to be a comedian.”

Cosby reportedly invited media outlets to attend his act two hours before it began. The entertainer was silent about the charges of sexual assault against him, but despite the fact that he had canceled his 2015 comedy tour amid protests, his reception by the audience was warm.

Nearly 60 women have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them. In a deposition for a 2005 court case, which the New York Times obtained in 2015, Cosby even revealed that he had drugged and sexually assaulted several women. But because many of the accusations were from too many years prior, only one woman was able to bring her case against Cosby. The trial, which took place in June 2017, was declared a mistrial. Not only was the jury unable to reach an agreement, but one juror even said some disturbing things about Cosby’s accuser, Andrea Constand — like that she was “untrustworthy” because she had worn a crop top to Cosby’s home before he assaulted her.

Cosby will be retried in April. In the retrial, prosecutors have requested that the judge allow 19 women to testify against Cosby rather than just Constand.

Bobby Allyn, a reporter for Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate, tweeted that when he asked Cosby if he thought the #MeToo movement would change the jury’s perception of him, Cosby shrugged and responded, “I don’t know.”

Twitter users were outraged that the disgraced comedian is performing again.

We need to start listening to people who make sexual assault allegations, and that means not allowing predators to perform. We hope that Constand and the rest of Cosby’s accusers find the justice they deserve in April’s retrial. But until then, it’s important to believe women when they say they’ve been abused, no matter who they accuse.

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