Bill Cosby protesters plan to disrupt Hamilton show from inside
Local writer seeking others to help interrupt comedian's Jan. 9 show at Hamilton Place Theatre
A Hamilton writer is recruiting people to buy tickets to comedian Bill Cosby's upcoming performance in the city so they can disrupt the show inside the theatre.
Anne Bokma said "the numbers are growing every day" of people planning to join her for a non-violent protest during Cosby's Jan. 9 show at Hamilton Place Theatre.
I'm not a gutsy lady. I want this show cancelled. I’ll do what I have to do, but I want it cancelled.- Anne Bokma, Hamilton writer
Bokma said she's been contacted through her website by both people who want to join her by buying $90 tickets, and people who have tickets to the show who don't want to go anymore and are unable to get refunds. They're giving Bokma their tickets so she can distribute them to people prepared to be part of the protest.
"There will be an interruption," she said. "Exactly what we’re doing and how many people, I can't tip my hand."
Bokma's plan will be in addition to a planned protest outside the show.
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Her plans are contingent on the show going ahead, which she hopes doesn't happen. Bokma called Scott Warren, the general manager of Hamilton Place, first to ask him to cancel the show, and then to alert him of her plans.
She said she's never organized something like this before. "I'm a middle-aged mom," she said.
"I’m not a gutsy lady. I want this show cancelled," she said. "I’ll do what I have to do but I want it cancelled."
At least 15 women have publicly accused Cosby of sexual abuse. The allegations have not been proven in court. Through his lawyer, Cosby has said he will not dignify "decade-old, discredited" claims of sexual abuse with a response.
The show's promoters have indicated the show will go ahead as scheduled. Warren has said cancelling would constitute a breach of contract and expose the venue to liability.
He said he couldn't address security arrangements for the event.
"We routinely have security and police at our events," he said. "Should any disruption occur at any of our events, those responsible are removed from the venue. Our guests' experience is very important to us and we always do whatever we can to ensure they receive the best possible experience."
A protest where Cosby would see it
The inside protest plan comes as an outside protest and denouncement is being organized by the Hamilton Woman Abuse Working Group.
Bokma said she supports the protest outside, but wanted her action to be somewhere Cosby would see it. Buying a $90 ticket did give her pause, she said.
"It was necessary to buy a ticket to get access to Cosby," she said. "It’s akin to somebody buying shares in a company" to make a change, she said.
Promoters of some of the 77-year-old’s other shows on the tour postponed performances "indefinitely." Others have been cancelled outright.
In a statement released to The Associated Press and posted online, lawyer John P. Schmitt said the fact that the allegations against Cosby are being repeated "does not make them true."
With files from Adam Carter