Bill Cosby’s Marian Anderson Award has been rescinded, another honor revoked for the entertainer in the wake of the conclusion of his sexual assault retrial.
The board of directors of the Marian Anderson Award on Thursday announced the decision to pull Cosby’s 2010 award, citing the verdicts last month. Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated sexual assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who testified that he drugged and assaulted her at his Cheltenham home in 2004. Cosby could face up to 30 years in prison.
“The decision to rescind was made out of respect for the legacy of Marian Anderson, the other artists we have honored and will honor in the future, and the students who benefit from the organization’s Young Artist Study Grant program,” the board wrote in a statement. The board could not immediately be reached for comment.
Cosby was the 11th recipient of the award. He received it at a gala at the Kimmel Center attended by then-Mayor Michael Nutter and former Gov. Ed Rendell. According to an Inquirer report, Cosby also received a “crystal obelisk and a $50,000 donation to a charity” of his choice as part of the award.
Named for the Philadelphia-born singer and civil rights figure, the award was launched in 1998 and aims to honor “critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way.”
The writer Maya Angelou and the television producer Norman Lear were honorees in 2008. Awards were not given out in 2009. Last year’s recipient was the Grammy Award-winning singer Dionne Warwick, whom the board called a “cornerstone of American pop music.”
Cosby’s name has been removed from the online list of Anderson honorees. Cosby’s representatives could not be immediately reached for comment.
Following the conclusion of his retrial last month, several schools, including Temple University, rescinded honorary degrees bestowed upon him, and Bounce TV decided to pull Cosby Show reruns from the air. This week, Cosby’s name was removed from the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame online, but a spokesperson indicated Cosby remains in the hall.
Camille O. Cosby, his wife, issued a statement this week in response to the verdicts against her husband as well as the revocation of degrees and awards over the course of the sexual assault scandal. Previously, she had remained mostly silent throughout the case, which stretched across several years and led to a mistrial last year.
“In the case of Bill Cosby, unproven accusations evolved into lynch mobs, who publicly and privately coerced cancellations of Bill Cosby’s scheduled performances; syndications of The Cosby Show; recisions of honorary degrees; and a vindictive attempt to close an exhibition of our collection of African American art in the Smithsonian Museum of African Art,” she wrote. “And all of that occurred before the trial even started.”
In response, the retrial jury issued its own statement indicating that “we were asked to assess the credibility of Ms. Constand’s account” and “each one of us found her account credible and compelling.”
Cosby is free on $1 million bail, but must stay at his Cheltenham home and wear a GPS ankle monitor under order of Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill. Cosby must obtain permission to leave for medical and legal appointments, according to an Inquirer report. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for later this year.