Cosby gets sell-out support from Florida fans over the weekend, some bookings canceling

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York April 6, 2011. | REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

MELBOURNE, Fla. (Christian Examiner) -- Despite numerous allegations of rape and sexual assault, Bill Cosby performed to a sold out audience in Melbourne, Florida over the weekend.

The Huffington Post reported a cheering audience greeted him with a standing ovation, and sent him off stage to standing applause following a 90-minute comedic set that carried on about a childhood fear of God, marriage, jujitsu and gymnastics among other things that did not include mention of the allegations soiling the 77 year-old comedian's reputation.

At least twice, someone shouted, "We love you, Bill Cosby," the article said.

Prior to the show at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts, Cosby told Florida Today that he didn't plan to address the controversial sexual assault allegations made by 16 accusers, of which 12 women say they were drugged.

"I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn't have to answer to innuendos," Cosby said. "People should fact check. People shouldn't have to go through that and shouldn't answer to innuendos."

Though disruptions at the show were highly possible only one protestor stood outside holding a sign that read "rape is no joke."

One Orlando radio show called "The News Junkie" offered a $200 Amazon gift card to anyone who would heckle the entertainer during his performance. One reference claimed the station offered $1,000 to interrupt Cosby.

In an interview prior to the Melbourne show, Cosby called the offer a "frat house mentality."

"So today I was informed of this radio station that is offering money for people to stand up and heckle in order to collect prizes and money," Cosby told Florida Today.

"The thing is, these people are prodding and pushing people and asking people to have a frat house mentality. Now suppose someone brings a weapon or decided to do more foolishness. There will be announcements made and the stations made some disclaimers, but what if people don't listen to what they said and they entice violence. That's not good for anyone."

Event organizers took extra security precautions to prevent a violent occurrence by denying backstage passes and having police on hand.

Days before the Melbourne show, Cosby performed at a benefit for a women's service organization to a supportive crowd in the Bahamas that gave the comedian a standing ovation.

Prior to the weekend, as the number of women accusing Cosby of sexual abuse continued to multiply, at least three other tour dates including Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas, Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson and the Virginia Theater in Champaign, Illinois were canceled. Cosby is slated to perform more than 30 shows between now and May 2015.

Cosby a stand-up comedian, who upheld a reputation for family and faith over the years built his fame as America's father-figure in his role as the patriarch of television's Huxtable family. The allegations of sexual assault represent a contradiction to the previously esteemed actor who has openly shared about his faith in God and growing up in the church.