Bill Cosby: Former co-star Phylicia Rashad defends comedian in face of sex allegations

'Forget these women. What you're seeing is the destruction of a legacy'

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The Independent Online

The onscreen wife of Bill Cosby has spoken out in defence of her former co-star in the face of a series of high-profile sexual offence allegations against the comedian.

Phylicia Rashad, who played Cosby's wife in The Cosby Show, described the allegations as part of an attempt to keep the 77-year-old off TV.

Speaking to Showbiz 411, Ms Rashad said: “Forget these women. What you're seeing is the destruction of a legacy.”

Ms Rashad said she did not know who would conduct such a campaign, but added: “Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV, and it’s worked. All his contracts have been cancelled.“

Cosby has called for fans to remain calm in the event of protests as he prepared to return to the stage for the first time since November, with three performances in Canada.

The comedian has faced an increasing public backlash following numerous allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted women dating back to the Seventies.

Since November, at least 15 women have come forward with claims against Cosby, who has never been charged in connection with the allegations. His lawyer has described the allegations as "decades old" and "discredited".

Cosby has seen a TV project halted and at least 10 standup comedy tour performances cancelled or indefinitely postponed in the wake of the allegations.

He is now due to perform in Kitchener, Ontario, on 7 January, London, Ontario, on 8 January, and Hamilton, Ontario, on 9 January.

Megan Walker, executive director of the London Abused Women's Centre, has reportedly said a demonstration will take place outside the London venue.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne meanwhile has said she would not attend any of the shows, because of the “very serious” allegations.