Bill Cosby's 'drinking' joke incurs more Gloria Allred wrath, fresh outcry

Bill Cosby's 'drinking' joke incurs more Gloria Allred wrath, fresh outcry
Gloria Allred listens as one of three new women stepping forward to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault speaks during a news conference at Allred's office in Los Angeles on Jan. 7, 2014. (Christina House / For The Times)

Bill Cosby is back in the headlines for a comment that appeared to make light of the numerous rape allegations against him. During a stand-up set Thursday in Ontario, Canada, Cosby reportedly told a woman in the audience, "Be careful drinking around me," seemingly a reference to the claims made by several women that he drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Some are not amused by Cosby's remark. In a statement to The Times, Gloria Allred, who is representing seven of the more than two dozen women who've accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, lashed out at the former sitcom star:

"Mr. Cosby's misguided attempt to use humor to distract from the serious allegations made by many of his alleged victims that he placed a drug in their drinks and then sexually assaulted them has only deepened the emotional injury that many of the alleged victims feel that they have suffered because of what they believe he inflicted upon them.

"The man who was once thought of as a role model is now viewed by many as a predator. The rape and drugging of women is no joke and is not a laughing matter. This so-called joke by Mr. Cosby combined with his failure to issue a clear denial of the many serious accusations of drugging and sexual assault which have been made against him will be part of Mr. Cosby’s shameful legacy."

Angela Rose, founder of the Chicago-based advocacy organization Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, also expressed her dismay at Cosby's remarks.

"As both a survivor of sexual assault and as an advocate, I am appalled at Bill Cosby making a joke about drug and alcohol-facilitated sexual assault," she said. "This disgraceful, reprehensible act shows an absolute lack of tact. Rape can have a devastating impact on victims, which sometimes can take a lifetime to heal."
After the show, Cosby issued a statement thanking the people of London, Ontario and obliquely referencing one heckler in the audience who is reported to have called him a "rapist":
"Dear Fans: One outburst but over 2,600 loyal, patient and courageous fans enjoyed the most wonderful medicine that exist for human-kind. Laughter. I thank you, the theatre staff (Budweiser Gardens), the event organizers and the London, ON Community for your continued honor and support. I'm Far From Finished.”

Follow @MeredithBlake on Twitter.