Bill Cosby's publicists had said he would speak at town halls this summer
"I just don't think the timing is right," his attorney said
Bill Cosby is not planning to hold a “sexual assault tour,” the comedian said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The current propaganda that I am going to conduct a sexual assault tour is false,” Cosby said. “Any further information about public plans will be given at the appropriate time.”
Last week, days after Cosby’s criminal assault case ended in a mistrial, Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said that the 79-year-old comedian planned to hold 5 to 7 town halls this summer in which he would warn young people about issues related to sexual assault allegations.
“This is not a sexual assault tour as many media have sensationalized it. It is an educational tour on what people should be cognizant of in regard to sexual abuse allegations and the dangers,” Wyatt told CNN.
Wyatt said Cosby would take questions from the audience at these events, but wouldn’t be able to answer all the questions because of pending litigation. He said Cosby’s attorneys had signed off on the idea.
The plans drew harsh criticism from women’s advocacy groups, who called it “disgusting” and “outrageous.” Cosby has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, though he has not been convicted of any crimes.
Cosby’s attorney also said on Tuesday that the comedian will not be speaking about sexual assault issues at town halls this summer, saying that the coming retrial of his criminal case was too important to jeopardize.
“I think there’s been a lot of misinformation about the concept of a town hall,” said Angela Agrusa, Cosby’s attorney. “Mr. Cosby will not be speaking about sexual assault. He never intended to speak about sexual assault.”
Over the weekend, Wyatt and spokeswoman Ebonee Benson said the town halls would primarily be about restoring Cosby’s image, not sexual assault.
But on Tuesday, Agrusa said those town halls likely wouldn’t happen at all because he still faces three charges of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.
“He does not take lightly these criminal charges,” she said. “He would never do anything that undermined the import of this issue. So I don’t see him speaking publicly like that, no.”
Agrusa’s rejection of the town halls came in comments after a hearing in a civil case against Cosby in Santa Monica, California on Tuesday. That case revolves around allegations Cosby sexually assaulted Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 15 years old.
A date for that civil trial was tentatively set for July 30, 2018. Cosby faces a number of civil lawsuits in addition to the potential retrial of his criminal case.
In May, Cosby said that he hoped to get back to performing comedy and motivational speaking after the criminal trial ends. Agrusa said Tuesday he still feels that way.
“I am confident that he does want to come back, be in the public performing, and I think since the mistrial and the hung jury he has received a lot of demands from people who want to hear him, people who support him, people who still believe in him. And he’d like, at some point hopefully soon, to be able to perform again,” she said.
Still, she said she doesn’t imagine there will be a town hall in July in Birmingham, Alabama, as his spokespeople said last week.
“I think he’d like to be able to publicly perform, I just don’t think the timing is right,” she said.
CNN’s John Torigoe and Steve Forrest contributed to this report.