The Associated Press late Wednesday released the full video of an interview two weeks ago with Bill Cosby in which the comedian was asked about sexual assault allegations levelled against him.
When the AP interviewed Cosby, on Nov. 6, the story involved long-circulated accusations from several women and recent criticism from comedian Hannibal Buress.
Cosby declined to comment, saying "We don't answer that."
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After his initial refusal to comment — as the interview was winding down but with the camera still running and Cosby and his wife Camille were wearing lapel microphones — the comedian asked the AP to not use the brief on-camera refusal to comment he had just made about the allegations. "And I would appreciate it if it was scuttled," he said.
The interview was on the record. The AP had made no agreement to avoid questions about the allegations or to withhold publishing any of his comments at any time.
Former Ford model Janice Dickinson was the latest woman in recent weeks to publicly accuse Cosby of sexual assault. In addition to allegations that were widely reported a decade ago as well as new accusations, they have gravely damaged the 77-year-old comedian's reputation.
Since Tuesday, NBC has scrapped a Cosby comedy that was under development, Netflix has dropped a planned standup release of his, and TV Land in the U.S. said it will stop airing reruns of his 1980s sitcom hit The Cosby Show.
D.A. says conviction in 2004 incident not possible
The AP interview was primarily about The Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art exhibition featuring more than 50 pieces of Cosby's African-American art collection alongside African artworks. The show opened this month on the National Mall in Washington and is scheduled to remain on view through early 2016.
There are no plans to cancel the exhibition, a Smithsonian spokesman said on Wednesday.
"The exhibition has been very well received. We've actually had record numbers through the door," spokesman Eddie Burke said, adding the museum has had no complaints.
In addition, the National Artists Corporation said it had no plans to cancel any standup comedy shows that Cosby has scheduled throughout North America through May 15.
There are three Canadian dates on consecutive days on that schedule, all in Ontario. Cosby is slated to perform in Kitchener on Jan. 7, followed by dates in London and Hamilton.
Cosby has never been charged in connection with any of the allegations. Former Pennsylvania prosecutor Bruce L. Castor Jr., who investigated a woman's claims that Cosby had sexually assaulted her in 2004, said Wednesday he decided not to prosecute because he felt there was not enough evidence to get a conviction.
"I wrote my opinion in such a way as I thought conveyed to the whole world that I thought he had done it, he had just gotten away with it because of a lack of evidence," the former Montgomery County district attorney said.
If Cosby hadn't been co-operative with the investigation, "I probably would have arrested him," he said.
Cosby's lawyer, Martin Singer, said in a letter to the AP that Dickinson's charges were "false and outlandish" and were contradicted by Dickinson herself in a published autobiography. Cosby's spokesman, David Brokaw, did not return calls for comment.
Singer said the first Cosby heard of any assault allegation from Dickinson came in the Entertainment Tonight interview, and suggested the actress was "seeking publicity to bolster her fading career."