Activists plan to protest Cosby show at Cobb Energy

A group of activists appalled by allegations that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted women over multiple decades is planning to protest inside and outside his May 2 Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre concert.

At the same time, organizers of the protest are pressuring Nashville-based concert promoter Outback Concerts — via calls, emails, social media and petitions — to cancel the performance.

As of Thursday afternoon, the concert at the 2,750-seat venue was still on.

It’s the only show on Cosby’s current Far From Finished tour schedule that has not been postponed or canceled. Cosby has nixed several performances since comic Hannibal Buress accused him onstage last Oct. 16 of being a “rapist,” and dozens of women subsequently came forth making similar allegations.

Shows dropped in April include dates in Green Bay, Wis., Tacoma, Wash., Albany, N.Y., and Rochester, N.Y. Dates in June and July in Santa Rosa, Calif., Cupertino, Calif., and Providence, R.I., are no longer on sale, either.

“We are hoping this is his final concert ever,” said Brandy Betts of Chicago, who plans to fly to Atlanta for the protest.

Betts said protest volunteers are making calls to Atlanta area rape crisis centers, women’s shelters, sororities and church groups. She said they also plan to have people inside the building ready to make their presence known to Cosby.

Andrew Wyatt, a spokesman for Cosby, declined to comment about the protests.

Sara Georgiadis, a retired Savannah-based business owner, said some of the 40-plus women who have publicly accused Cosby of abuse are planning to attend.

Cosby has not addressed the assault allegations directly, though his representatives have denied any of them ever happened.

In Denver in January, about 100 protesters showed up outside the Buell Theatre, chanting “Don’t drink the water,” alluding to claims Cosby drugged his alleged victims’ drinks. In Baltimore last month, several protesters jeered him from the balcony 15 minutes into the show, according to the Washington Post.

“Just remain calm,” Cosby said onstage, according to the Post. “We are here to enjoy my gift. We are not here to argue. Let those people speak. We will find them and ask them to leave.”

The protesters were led out of the building.

The last time Cosby performed in a public setting was March 28 in Charleston, W.Va. The West Virginia Gazette reported the Charleston Municipal Auditorium was about half full. No protesters showed up.

Shortly after Buress raised the issue, Cosby played a sold-out Oct. 26 show at the Classic Center in Athens without incident.

At many concerts, audiences reportedly have given him standing ovations.

Atlanta resident Jonathan Barge and his wife purchased their tickets to the Cobb show before they heard about the spate of allegations last fall.

When they recently sought refunds, they received an email from Russel Kennedy, Cobb Energy assistant box office manager, saying: “Unfortunately, the venue’s contractual obligations with Mr. Cosby allow for no refunds for this show.”

Barge said he plans to just eat the tickets and not attend the show.

Demand has been slack on third-party ticket sales marketplaces. Rukkus, which tracks tickets from multiple sites, said the average offer price of Cosby tickets for the May 2 concert is down 33 percent compared with his Cobb appearance in 2013.

As of Thursday, ticket vendor Stubhub had 235 tickets to the Cosby show for sale, with more than 50 below face value. (The show is still listed at $71 to $91.50 on Ticketmaster after fees.) There were several tickets in the first 10 rows available on Stubhub for less than $50 apiece, including front-row seats for just $41 each.

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