Amid numerous allegations of sexual misconduct by Bill Cosby, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art has said it will post a sign Wednesday at an exhibition featuring works from the comedian's collection, reported the Associated Press. The sign will clarify that the exhibition is concerned with the art and isn't a tribute to Cosby.
The exhibition in the Washington museum will continue despite claims from more than two dozen women alleging sexual misconduct by Cosby -- including several women who say he drugged and raped them -- over the past four decades. Court documents also revealed that in 2005 Cosby admitted under oath to purchasing Quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex. In total, 39 women have alleged sexual misconduct by Cosby. The 78-year-old has denied all allegations.
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Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas told the Associated Press that the sign will essentially tell visitors that the museum does not condone Cosby's behavior. Cosby and his wife, Camille, have been major collectors of African-American art over the past four decades. The collection features works from prominent African-American artists including Beauford Delaney, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence, Augusta Savage and Henry Ossawa Tanner, according to the Associated Press.
About one-third of the National Museum of African Art's 50th-anniversary exhibition came from the Cosby collection, the AP reported on Sunday. The Smithsonian also told the AP that the Cosbys funded the exhibition with a $716,000 gift, enough to cover nearly the entire cost.
"First and fundamentally, this is an art exhibit," Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian's undersecretary for art, history and culture, told the AP Sunday. "So it's not about the life and career of Bill Cosby. It's about the artists."
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The news about the Smithsonian sign comes on the heels of Cosby losing a supporter who had defended him on national television. On Tuesday, actress and "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg spoke out against the comedian who she had previously defended.
"If this is to be tried in the court of public opinion, I got to say all of the information that's out there kind of points to guilt," she told ABC News' chief legal analyst Dan Abrams, according to CNN.