July 16, 2015


City News Service 



President Barack Obama said this week there is no “mechanism” for revoking the Presidential Medal of Freedom that was awarded 13 years ago to comedian Bill Cosby, who has been accused by more than 40 women — including some in Southern California — of sexual misconduct. Cosby received the honor in 2002 from then-President George W. Bush. In light of the accusations against the comedian, Obama was asked if he would consider revoking the honor.


“There’s no precedent for revoking a medal,” he said. “We don’t have that mechanism. And as you know, I tend to make it a policy not to comment on the specifics of cases where there might still be, if not criminal, then civil issues involved.


“I'll say this: If you give a woman — or a man, for that matter — without his or her knowledge, a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape,” the president said. “And I think this country, any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape.”


Cosby, 78, has been accused by more than 40 women of sexual misconduct, including allegations by many that he drugged and raped them in incidents dating back more than four decades. Cosby has never been criminally charged, and most of the accusations are barred by statutes of limitations. Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, who represents several women accusing Cosby of sexual assault, said the comedian’s Medal of Freedom should be revoked, saying that if it's issued by the president, it can be revoked by the president.


“The president has not yet cited any legal reason why it could not be done,” Allred said. “If all it takes is a mechanism to do that, then I would hope that the executive branch would begin work on such a mechanism, and if the White House does not do it then the Congress should pass a resolution supporting such a mechanism and suggesting guidelines to be followed to create such a mechanism.


“... I know that the president cares about women’s rights, and the right of women to be free of drugging and rape is a right that I am certain that the president would want for his wife, his daughters and all women wherever they might reside,” Allred said. “Unfortunately, many women were not safe from Mr. Cosby and were denied their right to dignity which the U.S. Supreme Court has recently declared to be an important right. It is time to find a way to revoke the award of the Medal of Freedom to Bill Cosby.”


A group of Los Angeles-area civil-rights activists recently called for Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to be removed. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, however, quickly rejected the request.


“The answer is no,” Chamber Presi­dent/CEO Leron Gubler said. “The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a registered historic landmark. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk.”

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