DEKALB, Ill. (AP) - School officials have removed a poster from Bill Cosby’s inaugural performance 13 years ago at Northern Illinois University’s Convocation Center from the facility’s walls and plan to eliminate images of the entertainer from future marketing materials.
The building will continue to showcase autographed photos of past entertainers in the “suite section,” but the poster from Cosby’s performance was taken down, said John Cheney, head of the university’s facilities and event operations. There are no plans to return the poster and continue its display at the Convocation Center, he told The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle (https://bit.ly/1DN3aOx ).
Based on the sexual assault accusations against Cosby, his brand isn’t one the building’s management wishes to identify with for the time being, according to Cheney.
“He’s part of the history of the center and he’s been used and used, and he’s well-known within the entertainment industry,” Cheney said. “We can’t change history that he has been here.”
Cosby, 78, best known for his stand-up comedy act and as Heathcliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” was the first major act to perform at the university’s Convocation Center during its opening weekend in August 2002. His performance attracted about 7,000 audience members and has been celebrated as part of the center’s history.
Although Cosby hasn’t been charged with sexual assault, 35 women recently came forward in a New York Magazine interview and accused him of drugging and raping them.
Northern Illinois University joins a group of colleges nationwide that have decided distance themselves from Cosby.
Spelman College in Georgia cut ties with Cosby and discontinued its endowed professorship with the comedian last year. University of Massachusetts Amherst, Berklee College of Music in Boston, High Point University in North Carolina and Freed-Hardeman University in Tennessee also have discontinued affiliation with Cosby.
But rather than removing all record of Cosby’s performance at Northern Illinois University, the school seeks to take the spotlight off such a controversial celebrity, Cheney said.
“We can’t strike that - that he has been here,” Cheney said. “There are other acts that we’ve had in the last 14 years that are just as capable of showing the type of talent that we have here, and that are capable of using the facility.”
Information from: The Daily Chronicle, https://www.daily-chronicle.com
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