The Kennedy Center’s Board of Trustees has voted to rescind two high-profile awards given to Bill Cosby following his conviction last month on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
Cosby received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1998 for lifetime achievement in the performing arts. In 2009, he was the 12th recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
The Kennedy Center released the following statement:
“Today the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts voted to rescind two artistic achievement awards the institution had previously bestowed upon Bill Cosby: the Kennedy Center Honors (1998) and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (2009).
The Honors and Mark Twain Prize are given to artists who, through their lifetime of work, have left an indelible impact on American culture. As a result of Mr. Cosby’s recent criminal conviction, the Board concluded that his actions have overshadowed the very career accomplishments these distinctions from the Kennedy Center intend to recognize.”
The arts center launched the nationally-televised Kennedy Center Honors in 1978 and the Mark Twain Prize in 1998.
Cosby was found guilty April 26 in Pennsylvania on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against former Temple University Andrea Constand in 2004. He awaits sentencing and faces up to 30 years in prison in the only criminal case brought against the famed actor-comedian. Dozens and dozens of women have come forward to accuse Cosby of similar acts over the decades.
Shortly after the verdict, colleges and universities, including Yale and Temple University, began rescinding honorary degrees that had been awarded to Cosby. The disgraced comedian’s name and bust were recently removed from the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame, and most recently the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to expel Cosby, along with director Roman Polanski, from its membership.