Kitchener-Waterloo

Bill Cosby Kitchener show alternative offered by volunteers

Tickets are now available for a fundraiser that bills itself as an alternative to Comedian Bill Cosby's Jan. 7 show in Kitchener.
Bill Cosby is still planning performances in southern Ontario, despite public protest. (John Minchillo/Associated Press)

Tickets are now available for a fundraiser that bills itself as an alternative to Comedian Bill Cosby's Jan. 7 show in Kitchener. 

The event, called Voices Carry, is being held on the same night as Cosby's show at Centre In The Square.

It is being organized by a group of volunteers hoping to raise money for survivors of sexual assault, with proceeds going to the Sexual Assault Centre of Waterloo Region and Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region. 

The fundraiser comes amid outrage over Cosby's appearance in Kitchener, given the growing number of sexual assault allegations against the comedian. It all started this tweet sent by radio personality Mike Farwell, said Shirley Lichti, one of the event's organizers:

On mobile? Read the tweet

"From that one tweet, it literally snowballed, and it just took momentum," said Lichti.

As a volunteer at the Sexual Assault Centre of Waterloo Region for nearly 25 years, Lichti said recent media attention of high-profile figures like Cosby, who are facing allegations of sexual assault, is bringing new light to the conversation.

"The fact that so many women have publicly come forward to say ‘Yes, I’ve been sexually abused’ or ‘Yes, this happened to me’ or ‘Yes, I have been sexually harassed in the workplace’ has made it safer for other women to say ‘I’m not alone. This hasn’t just happened to me,’" she said.

Almost a dozen of Cosby’s shows that are part of his ongoing standup tour in the United States have been cancelled, but three Ontario performances in Kitchener, London and Hamilton are going ahead. The London Abused Women’s Centre is boycotting the Jan. 8 performance in London.

Free admission for those with Cosby tickets

Rather than boycott the Kitchener show, organizers decided those who hold tickets to Cosby's show at Centre in the Square should be offered free admission to attend Voices Carry instead.

The alternative event will feature five bands, cupcakes donated by The Cake Box, and brief presentations by both charities involved.

“It’s going to be an evening to come out, enjoy some good music, and support two great causes,” said Lichti.

Doors for the event open at 6 p.m. on Jan. 7, with entertainment from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets range from $20 per person to $200 for a group of 12, and can be purchased at http://voicescarry.eventbrite.ca. 

At least 15 women have come forward with sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby since early November.

Prosecutors declined to charge Cosby in connection to the most recent allegations by Judy Huth, who said Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him in a bedroom of the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 15 years old.

Former supermodels Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson have also come forward with allegations that the 77-year-old attacked them.   

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