Bill Cosby asks fans to 'remain calm' ahead of Ontario shows
Published Tuesday, January 6, 2015 11:17AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 6, 2015 6:31PM EST
Shortly after the Ontario premier told media she'd wouldn't attend upcoming events hosted by Bill Cosby, the comedian advised fans attending the shows to "remain calm" in case of protests.
The 77-year-old is scheduled to perform in Kitchener on Jan. 7, London on Jan. 8 and Hamilton on Jan. 9, despite protests in each city asking for the concerts to be cancelled.
Cosby is facing a flurry of allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted women, dating back to the 1970s. He has never been criminally charged in connection with the allegations, and his lawyer has denied many of them.
When the allegations became public, at least 10 of his North American tour dates were cancelled or postponed, but the Ontario shows are scheduled to go ahead as planned.
Several protests have been organized in each city, planned to take place inside and outside the venues.
In a statement sent to CTV Toronto on Tuesday, a representative said Cosby is aware of the planned protests.
"If a disruption occurs, please remain calm until the matter is resolved and do not confront the person making the disruption," the statement sent by Purpose PR's Andrew Wyatt said.
Hours before the statement was sent out, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said that she wouldn't attend any of the events hosted by Cosby until sexual assault allegations against the comedian are cleared up.
"There are very serious allegations against this man and certainly until those are sorted out, I would certainly not go to a performance," she said, when asked about the shows by CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss.
"It's up to the organizers to make those decisions, but I certainly wouldn't attend."
The Ontario venues have said that they're contractually obligated to go ahead with the events. A source within the entertainment industry told CTV Kitchener it would cost at least six figures to cancel the show in that city. The bill could be much higher factoring in the cost of subsequent legal action, the source said, but did not give a specific estimate.
Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said that the municipal government is listening to public concerns, but it's important to remember that the theatre isn't run by the city. He said he'd spoken to representatives of the theatre hosting the show, but understood the contract forbids cancellation.
"Unless the performer himself is not willing to perform, from their perspective, the show has to go on," Vrbanovic told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
Vrbanovic said it isn't his place to get involved in the discussion about the show itself, but has been participating in the larger debate that stemmed from the performance.
"We've seen our community get into a really healthy discussion and debate about these two issues (sexual assault and domestic violence) which are important."
As a result of the discussion, the community has planned an event called Voices Carry, being held to raise awareness of the issues and protest to Cosby's show. The event will be held in Kitchener at the same time as Cosby's show.
Vrbanovic said he'd be attending the Voices Carry event on Wednesday evening.
London, Ont. Mayor Matt Brown sent a statement to CTV News on Saturday, calling for organizers to cancel the show cancellation. "Given the situation, the reaction from our community and the reaction that we've seen across North America, I think it would send the right message for the organizers to cancel the show," Brown wrote.
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger hasn't called for a cancellation, but has said publicly that he will not be attending the show.