Kennedy Center officials are reviewing whether to rescind the high-profile arts and comedy awards that the national arts center has bestowed on comedian Bill Cosby, who on Thursday was convicted of three counts of sexual assault.
The disgraced comedian received a Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement in the performing arts in 1998, and was the 12th recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2009.
“The status of the Kennedy Center Honor and the Mark Twain Prize is under review by the appropriate board committees,” said spokeswoman Michelle A. Pendoley. Any decisions reached by the committees would then go to the full board for approval, she said, adding that there is no timetable for the review.
The Kennedy Center has never rescinded either of these national awards, Pendoley confirmed.
In the wake of Cosby’s conviction, several universities announced that they were rescinding the honorary degrees given to Cosby. Johns Hopkins, Temple, Carnegie Mellon and Notre Dame universities announced their decisions within 24 hours of the verdict. The entertainer faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.
A spokeswoman for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture said that two items related to Cosby — an “I Spy” comic book and the cover of Cosby’s 1964 album, “I Started Out as a Child” — will remain on view there. Cosby also appears in a video about stand-up comedians.
The label describing Cosby’s career may change, said Linda St. Thomas. The current label acknowledges that “revelations about alleged sexual misconduct have cast a shadow over Cosby’s entertainment career and severely damaged his reputation.”