By Lynn Elber
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bill Cosby will organize a series of town hall meetings to help educate young people about problems their misbehavior could create and other issues, a spokesman for Cosby said.
A town hall will be held in Birmingham in July, said Andrew Wyatt, a spokesman for Cosby. He didn’t identify the date or location or any other cities that will be visited
Cosby is eager to get back to work following a deadlocked jury and mistrial in his sexual assault case, Wyatt told Birmingham, Alabama, TV station WBRC.
“We’ll talk to young people. Because this is bigger than Bill Cosby. You know, this, this issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today,” Wyatt said. “And they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things they shouldn’t be doing.
“Is it kind of a, ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ situation?” the newscaster asked, but it was unclear if Wyatt heard and responded to the question.
Prosecutors have said Cosby will be retried on sexual assault charges stemming from former Temple University worker Andrea Constand’s allegations that Cosby drugged and molested her in 2004. Cosby contends the encounter was consensual.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an anti-sexual violence organization known as RAINN, responded to Cosby’s announced plans.
“It would be more useful if Mr. Cosby would spend time talking with people about how not to commit sexual assault in the first place,” RAINN spokeswoman Jodi Omear said in a statement.
In a statement Thursday to The Associated Press, Wyatt expanded on his remarks.
He said that many civic organizations and churches have called asking that Cosby speak to young men and women about the judicial system and how it can be used for “personal agenda and political ambitions.”
“They feel that the young men and women need to be aware that Mr. Cosby was given a deal to never be criminally charged” in the Andrea Constand case, he said.
A town hall will be held in Birmingham in July, Wyatt said. He didn’t identify the date or location or any other cities that will be visited.
Also taking part in the TV interview was Wyatt associate Ebonee Benson, who had read comments from Cosby’s wife, Camille, slamming prosecutors after the trial’s end last weekend in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
“Laws are changing,” Benson said on Thursday. “The statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault are being extended. So this is why people need to be educated on a brush against the shoulder, you know anything at this point can be considered sexual assault. And it’s … a good thing to be educated about the law.”
Lecturing isn’t new for Cosby. In recent years, the comedian and actor became known for scolding fellow African-Americans for poor grammar, sloppy dress and not valuing education, critiques that drew fire from some as elitist.
It also led indirectly to the reopening of the examination of his past.
In 2014, black standup comedian Hannibal Buress slammed Cosby on stage, calling him a self-righteous scold and adding, “You rape women, Bill Cosby.”
Video of Buress’ remarks was widely viewed online, and a number of women came forward to share similar stories alleging sexual abuse by Cosby. Prosecutors ultimately reopened Constand’s case.
During the trial, Constand testified that Cosby drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby did not testify during the trial, but has said his contact with the former director of women’s basketball operations at his alma mater, Temple University, was consensual.
A juror in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial said Thursday that some jurors were concerned that prosecutors waited 10 years to charge him, expressing suspicion that politics had played a role in the case.
The juror told The Associated Press that the panel was almost evenly split in its deliberations, with a similar number of jurors wanting to convict the 79-year-old entertainer as acquit him.
The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.