Obama condemns Bill Cosby’s alleged abuse of women

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Asked about Cosby, Obama says civilized nations cannot tolerate rape.

President Obama on Wednesday sidestepped the question of whether he would try to revoke the Medal of Freedom given to comedian Bill Cosby, but he delivered a terse condemnation of the actor’s alleged abuse of women that suggested a simmering anger over it. “I’ll say this: If you give a woman — or a man, for that matter — without his or her knowledge, a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape,” Obama said at a White House news conference. “And I think this country, any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape.” The president said there is “no precedent for revoking” the medal, the highest American honor a civilian can win. FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2014 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby gestures during an interview at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington.Although he said he couldn’t comment on “the specifics” of the allegations against the comedian, the president broke his silence on the scandal, saying: “I’ll say this.

Barack Obama spoke publicly about the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby for the first time on Wednesday, condemning drugs and rape without referencing the besieged comedian by name. Several women who claim they were sexually assaulted by Cosby in the 1980s joined an effort this week to unseal a deposition he gave in 2005 in which he reportedly admitted giving a powerful sedative to women with whom he wanted to have sex. He declined to talk about the specific allegations against Cosby because there are pending legal matters. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)The Associated PressPresident Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 15, 2015. The unsealing of that deposition came after more than 40 women alleged in the last nine months that Cosby sexually assaulted them in incidents dating back decades.

Angela Rose, executive director of Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment, said there are plenty of ways for the president to take a more emphatic stand. “Allowing Cosby to maintain this coveted symbol suggests that we as a society condone coercive sexual behavior,” Rose said. “This is an unprecedented moment, and we need to show zero tolerance for sexual assault.” The organization has suggested three ways Obama could deal with Cosby’s medal: issue an executive order rescinding it, issue a personal statement that it should be rescinded or ask Cosby to return it. The re-airing of these claims has prompted dozens of women to publicly accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct, including some incidents that occurred several decades prior.

At the landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl diner in Washington DC, a longtime fixture of the city’s black business community, a sign states: “Who eats free at Ben’s: – Bill Cosby – The Obama Family.”

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