Bill Cosby is performing a sold-out show Friday night in Melbourne, Florida, at the King Center for the Performing Arts, but many are anticipating that the show will spill out into the audience in the form of protesters. In the past week, a near-daily stream of women have come forward accusing the entertainer of sexually assaulting them, reviving decades-old rumors that Cosby was a sexual predator.
There will be increased security, no backstage passes, and an obvious police presence at the venue, reports Click Orlando.
The hosts of “The News Junkie,” an Orlando radio program, are even offering a $200 Amazon gift card to anyone who disrupts his performance. Host Shawn Wasson told a local news station that he wants Cosby to address the allegations. "Stand up in one of the quiet portions at the beginning of Bill Cosby's performance and scream out something about the rape allegations," Wasson told his audience, reported Click Orlando. “All you have to do is stand up. You got to film it or record the audio."
Apparently, the prize has gone up. Radio host Sabrina Ambra told Mashable on Friday that each protester will get $1,000.
Although numerous venues have canceled Cosby's performance in the wake of the sexual assault allegations -- including Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas, Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, Arizona, and Virginia Theater in Champaign, Illinois, according to People -- the King Center for Performing Arts chose to keep Cosby in the lineup.
"Few entertainers have achieved the legendary status of Bill Cosby," Cosby's bio on the website reads. "His role on 'I Spy' brought him three Emmy Awards and he rocked the television world again with 'The Cosby Show,' which single-handedly revived the family sitcom. Bill Cosby is quite simply a national treasure with the unique ability to touch people’s hearts."
Journalist Bill Hernandez is live-tweeting the show and announced that Cosby received a standing ovation -- but that the "sold-out" show appeared to have many empty seats.
Once the Bill Cosby show starts at 7:30 I won't be allowed to take photos, shoot video or tweet. Phone must be off. Story coming afterward.
— Brian A. Hernandez (@BAHjournalist) Nov. 22, 2014