Bill Cosby Show Disrupted By Chanters: "We Believe The Women"
THR is on hand as around 30 women shout at the embattled comedian
Around 30 female protesters disrupted Bill Cosby's stand-up comedy show in Hamilton, Ontario Friday night, yelling "We believe the women." The Hollywood Reporter witnessed as the comedian grimly attempted to calm his fans while police and security guards moved in to end the disruption.
Cosby had been on stage for roughly five minutes when he praised protesters outside the Hamilton Place theater for braving frigid wintry conditions to "say what they believed in" over his mounting sexual assault allegations.
Then, just as Cosby launched into his comedy act, roughly 30 women rose from their seats, removed their coats to display white t-shirts emblazoned with the words "We Believe the Women" across the front and backs to launch their protest.
Some of the women blew whistles, while others shouted down Cosby by chanting "we believe the women, we believe the women." As security waded into the audience to corral the protesters, Cosby was on his feet calling out, "Stop, stop, let them, let them, stop... let them have their say."
As security slowly made their way to the protesters, with some of the women taking smartphone videos to mark the occasion, Cosby continued to urge calm, his arms outstretched and his hands, palms down, rising and falling as if to silence the protest. Some in the audience yelled out "We believe the men," and "We love you Bill."
But that fan support only had Cosby calling out still louder, "stop, it will calm." As one young protester was escorted from the audience, she turned back to the main stage and shouted out: "Our product is steel, our strength is people," with a reference to the city of Hamilton's giant steel mills.
Then, just as calm seemed to return to the theater, a male protester rose from his seat to yell out: "You're a piece of shit. You rapist." Cosby, who now had a grim smile on his face, said "stop, no, no, don't do this," as he looked on as the security finished corralling the hecklers.
Finally, Cosby returned to his seat on stage and said "now... we're going to continue with our show." The mass disruption occurred during the third and final of his three Canadian shows, with the first two in Kitchener and London, Ontario having seen only one heckler challenge the embattled comedian.
Cosby lost no time when arriving on stage in Hamilton to warn the audience of a possible disruption.
"Whatever happens here tonight, if there's some sort of outburst, we just need to keep calm and it doesn't have to last that long," he told the half-empty Hamilton Place theater.
Since November, Cosby has seen more than two dozen accusers come forward with mounting rape and sexual assault allegations against him. He has not been charged in connection with any of the allegations, which have been denied through his lawyers.
But that's done little to quell the growing public debate over sexual assault, which became a topic of conversation surrunding his Canadian tour. At the conclusion of the Hamilton comedy set, Cosby urged the audience to "take what has been a wonderful time and let us hold no enemies anywhere."
And with that, Cosby walked off stage to a near-standing ovation from the remaining audience.