The Kennedy Center rescinded two honors it gave Bill Cosby, two weeks after the comedian was convicted on three counts of sexual assault in a Pennsylvania court room.
The board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts voted Monday to withdraw Cosby's 1998 Kennedy Center Honors award and the 2009 Mark Train Prize for American Humor.
“The Honors and Mark Twain Prize are given to artists who, through 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 recognize," a spokesperson for the center told Variety.
On April 26, Cosby was convicted on all three charges of sexual assault related to allegations from Andrea Constand. She accused Cosby of drugging and raping her in 2004, when she was an employee at Temple University. In 2005, she filed a civil lawsuit, but the district attorney declined to press criminal charges at the time.
In 2015, Cosy was charged with three second degree felony counts. The first trial in 2017 ended with a mistrial after the jury could not come to a unanimous decision. It took the jury in the retrial less than two days of deliberations to convict Cosby.
Cosby faces up to 10 years in state prison on each charge. Sentencing is expected to take place later this year.
More than 60 women have accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them, but the Constand case is the only one in which Cosby faced criminal charges. Many of the other cases have long passed the statutes of limitations.
Since Cosby was convicted, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which presents the Oscars, revoked Cosby's membership. The Television Academy, which awards the Emmys, also removed references to Cosby from the Television Hall of Fame. Several of Cosby's honorary degrees, including one from Yale University and Temple University, have been revoked.0comments
Cosby's wife Camille issued a statement defending her husband last week and called the conviction "mob justice."
"The overall media, with their frenzied, relentless demonization of him and unquestioning acceptance of accusers’ allegations without any attendant proof, have superseded the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which guarantee due process and equal protection, and thereby eliminated the possibility of a fair trial and unbiased jury. Bill Cosby was labelled as guilty because the media and accusers said so,” Camille Cosby said. "This is mob justice, not real justice. This tragedy must be undone not just for Bill Cosby, but for the country."