Bill Cosby plans to tour again in 2023 despite new sexual assault lawsuit

Actor’s radio announcement met with incredulity after his 2018 conviction and new complaint filed by five women in New York

The actor Bill Cosby, the 80s TV comedian who was convicted in Pennsylvania of a criminal sex assault charge in 2018, is looking to return to live performing next year, according to a report on Tuesday.

In a WGH Talk radio interview, 85-year-old Cosby answered “yes” when asked if he planned to tour again in 2023.

Cosby – once known as America’s Dad before numerous women accused him of sexually assaulting them – told radio host Scott Spears that he planned to return to the comedy circuit “because there’s so much fun to be had in this storytelling that I do”.

“Years ago, maybe 10 years ago, I found it was better to say it after I write it,” Cosby said. “I feel that I will be able to perform and be the Bill Cosby that my audience knows me to be.”

Some met Cosby’s plan to return to live performance with incredulity.

“Bill Cosby is going on tour,” comedy writer Rachael Millanta said on Twitter. “Tell me again how cancel culture has gone too far?”

Cosby was released in 2021 after nearly three years in prison when Pennsylvania’s state supreme court overturned his conviction. His spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, confirmed to Variety that the comedian was “looking … to start touring” in either the spring or summer.

Earlier this month, five women – including the Cosby Show actors Lili Bernard and Eden Tirl – filed a civil lawsuit in New York claiming Cosby “sexually abused or assaulted” them.

Bernard, Tirl and another plaintiff, Cindra Ladd, have previously spoken out about Cosby’s alleged behavior. They are joined in the suit by Jewel Gittens and Jennifer Thompson. The lawsuit was filed during a one-year “look-back” window allowing for the filing of sexual abuse complaints that otherwise might have been beyond key deadlines known as statutes of limitation.

The plaintiffs allege that Cosby either raped them or forced them into sexual acts. Four of the allegations date from the late 1980s or 1990s, when The Cosby Show aired on NBC.

NBC, along with Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Carsey-Werner Company, is named in the complaint that alleges the companies had “facilitated the sexual assault of women” by failing to check Cosby’s power and proclivities, failed to protect the women from being alone with him and profited from his work.

“It was well known that Bill Cosby would regularly take young women into his dressing room,” said a lawyer for the plaintiffs, Jordan Rutsky. He said “there were instances where staff saw this happening and even encouraged the plaintiff to submit”.

The fifth allegation involves Cindra Ladd, a former Hollywood executive who has accused Cosby of raping her in 1969 when she was 21. Ladd has said Cosby drugged and raped her.

Cosby’s spokesperson said: “Mr Cosby continues to vehemently deny all allegations waged against him and looks forward to defending himself in court.”

Cosby was released from prison after Pennsylvania’s top appeals court overturned his conviction having found that a statement the comedian had made in a civil deposition should not have been used in criminal proceedings.

In March, the US supreme court turned away a bid by Pennsylvania prosecutors to reinstate Cosby’s conviction. The court said without elaborating that it had declined to hear the appeal.

Jurors in a civil trial in Los Angeles in June found Crosby liable for the sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975. They awarded Judy Huth, 64, $500,000 after finding that Cosby intentionally caused harmful sexual contact with the teenager, whom he reasonably believed was under 18, and that his conduct was driven by unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in a minor.


Edward Helmore

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Bill Cosby receives tentative date for sexual assault trial
Judge sets trial for 5 June 2017 as prosecutors push for 13 unnamed accusers to testify to ‘extraordinary nature of this pattern’ of the comedian’s assaults

Molly Redden in New York

06, Sep, 2016 @9:05 PM

Article image
Bill Cosby drops defamation case against sexual assault accusers
Spokesman said Cosby dropped the case against seven women ‘to focus on other matters’

Guardian staff and agencies

31, May, 2019 @9:28 PM

Article image
Bill Cosby plans to teach young people how to not get accused of sexual assault
Just days after his sexual assault case ended in a mistrial, spokespeople said the disgraced comedian will embark on ‘town halls’ about the issue

Molly Redden in New York

22, Jun, 2017 @11:10 PM

Article image
Bill Cosby sexual assault allegations to be included in Smithsonian exhibition
Museum said it understands calls to remove mention of comedian but visitors will leave knowing Cosby’s impact while recognizing image has been damaged

Ellen Brait

31, Mar, 2016 @9:59 PM

Article image
Prosecutors vow to retry Bill Cosby after sexual assault case ends in mistrial
Jury unable to reach consensus on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, as lawyers for accuser say trial gave ‘voice to the many victims’

Molly Redden and Martin Pengelly in New York

17, Jun, 2017 @4:49 PM

Article image
Bill Cosby found guilty in sexual assault trial in milestone for #MeToo era
Comedian faces possible 15 to 30 years in prison after Pennsylvania trial over 2004 incident, amid dozens of accusations from other women

Tom McCarthy in New York

27, Apr, 2018 @11:15 AM

Article image
Bill Cosby sexual assault prosecutors ask judge to allow 13 accusers to testify
Judge’s decision on whether to allow the women’s testimony will influence the entire case, which lacks forensic evidence, witnesses or a timely police report

Molly Redden

13, Dec, 2016 @1:09 PM

Article image
Bill Cosby stands trial – on one sexual assault claim out of more than 50
The comedian, once known as ‘America’s dad’, will face a possible 10-year prison sentence when his case opens in a Pennsylvania county courthouse

Molly Redden

05, Jun, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
Three more women accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault
Women describe incidents occurring between 1981 and 1986 as Gloria Allred continues to press comedian on waiving statute of limitations

Jessica Glenza in New York

07, Jan, 2015 @11:36 PM

Article image
Colorado lawmakers push sexual assault bill inspired by Bill Cosby allegations
Legislation would eliminate state’s statute of limitations for felony sexual assault cases to make it easier for victims to pursue criminal charges against their rapists

Sam Levin in San Francisco

21, Jan, 2016 @1:00 PM