Cosby to go ahead with Canada shows
Bill Cosby has "every intent" to perform at three shows in Canada next week amid a series of sex abuse claims against the veteran entertainer, promoters have said.
Chicago-based Innovation Arts & Entertainment said it understood the decision was unpopular but both the firm and the venues in Ontario were obligated to proceed and "we would face crippling legal obstacles for violation".
More than 15 women have come forward since November claiming to have been drugged, sexually assaulted or both by Cosby, 77, who has never been charged in connection with any of the allegations.
As controversy has grown, Cosby's scheduled Netflix concert special was cancelled and NBC scrapped a new sitcom in development.
Cosby is due to appear at the Centre In The Square in Kitchener on January 7, the Budweiser Gardens in London on January 8 and at Hamilton Place Theatre in Hamilton on January 9.
"As recently as this morning, IAE has been informed by Mr Cosby's representatives that he has every intent to perform these events," the promoter said.
Jason MacDonald, a spokesman for Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, called the allegations against Cosby "very serious and deeply troubling" but declined to comment further.
But Cosby will face protests from women's groups and others at the Canadian shows and IAE said: "While it is disappointing for the need to worry about the theatre being a place for planned protests, we are fully prepared to protect our audience."
Megan Walker, executive director of the London Abused Women's Centre, who is planning a protest outside the London venue, took issue with the promoter's statement, saying: "There's an implication that somehow a peaceful protest is going to become violent when the violence we're concerned about is the violence that the women have alleged against Mr Cosby."
Scott Warren, general manager of Hamilton Place Theatre, said the venue was bound by a contract with the promoter and would risk being sued if the show were cancelled.