Seems Bill Cosby won't be part of the Houston Symphony 2014-2015 season after all. There aren't many details, just a short statement released by the symphony's PR reps:
The Bill Cosby performance at Jones Hall scheduled for January 24, 2015 has been cancelled by mutual agreement with the intent to reschedule in a future season. No new date has been announced. Customers who have purchased tickets for this performance are encouraged to contact our Patron Services Center at (713) 224-7575, Monday-Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM to take action regarding their tickets.
There are a couple of telling phrases in the note (if you know how to translate public relationese, that is). The phrase "By mutual agreement" caught our eye. Most cancellation announcements use language such as "It's with great disappointment that we announce ..." or at least "Due to unforeseen circumstances..." Neither is used here.
Also the phrase "with the intent to reschedule in a future season" merits note. We take it to mean "no time soon," although it does leave room for a re-booking in case Cosby is ever cleared of allegations of rape and sexual misconduct that have recently become very, very public.
Cosby has long been thought to be an American entertainment icon, with such breakthrough roles as Alexander Scott, an African-American spy in the 1960s television series I Spy (black actors in the 1960s were usually cast as the bad guy and not the cop, much less a spy), and as the host of Fat Albert, an early 1970s cartoon show that followed a group of black kids growing up in Philadelphia (do we really need to say that blacks weren't seen very often in cartoons back then, much less in a series with an entire cast of African Americans?). His big hit was, of course, The Cosby Show, which premiered in 1984. Cosby played a physician with an attorney wife and a brood of kids (by the 1980s, blacks were seen on television sitcoms, but were more likely to live in a tenement, such as the family on Good Times, than live in an affluent neighborhood as seen in the Cosby show).
But Cosby, who has never been officially charged or prosecuted, has been quietly dogged by allegations of rape and sexual misconduct for decades. He's reportedly settled out of court with at least one alleged victim. And the similarity between the victims' stories of rape, which reportedly took place over several decades, would seem to lend credence to the charges.
The allegations, unlike many of Cosby's gigs, including this one with the Houston Symphony, just won't go away.