Netflix Reverses Course, Shelves Plans for Cosby Special

Had Intended to Proceed Just Earlier This Week

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Netflix has put off plans to run a comedy special starring Bill Cosby following new rape allegations against the comedian and actor.

"At this time we are postponing the launch of the new stand-up comedy special 'Bill Cosby 77,'" Netflix said in a statement. The stand-up performance by the 77-year-old comedian was scheduled to go live on Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving.

Netflix acted after allegations resurfaced that Mr. Cosby drugged and raped women more than a decade ago. People familiar with the situation said earlier this week that executives at Netflix, the world's largest subscription streaming service, had discussed the situation and still planned to run the show.

A new accuser, Joan Tarshis, came forward on Nov. 16, writing on the entertainment site Hollywood Elsewhere about an alleged incident in 1969. Another woman, model Janice Dickinson, told Entertainment Tonight she was sexually assaulted by Cosby in 1982. Barbara Bowman published a Washington Post op-ed last week reiterating past accusations Cosby raped her when she was a 17-year-old aspiring actress.

"My client says that he is in agreement with Netflix," David Brokaw, a spokesman for Mr. Cosby, said in an e-mail. Brokaw didn't immediately respond to a follow-up request for comment about Ms. Dickinson's allegations.

Mr. Cosby, who broke racial barriers with TV's "I Spy" in the 1960s and "The Bill Cosby Show" in the 1980s, declined to comment when asked about the allegations in an interview with National Public Radio that aired on Nov. 15. He has never been charged with a crime involving the allegations.

'Discredited Allegations'
He canceled a guest appearance on CBS Corp.'s "Late Show with David Letterman," and a guest spot on "The Queen Latifah Show" was postponed at the comedian's request, NBC News reported. Comedian Hannibal Buress last month called Cosby a rapist onstage.

"Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced," his lawyer, John Schmitt, said in a Nov. 16 statement. "The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment."

A new statement was posted Nov. 17 to clarify that the lawyer's comments didn't refer to another Mr. Cosby accuser, Andrea Constand, whose 2005 civil lawsuit against Cosby was settled.

She claimed to have located at least 10 other alleged victims of sexual assault by Cosby. In a court filing at the time, Ms. Constand named one other witness to prior alleged sexual assaults, and nine so-called Jane Does, whose names were confidential.

"The statement released by Mr. Cosby's attorney over the weekend was not intended to refer in any way to Andrea Constand," said the joint statement, from Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand's lawyers. "As previously reported, differences between Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand were resolved to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand years ago. Neither Mr. Cosby nor Ms. Constand intends to comment further on the matter."

~ Bloomberg News ~

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