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Bill Cosby agrees to offer refunds for two sold-out New York shows

A Tarrytown, N.Y., theater has reached an agreement allowing it to issue refunds for two upcoming sold-out Bill Cosby stand-up shows.

Patrons of the Tarrytown Music Hall pressed the venue to offer refunds in light of rape allegations against the comedian, which he has disputed through his attorney, Martin Singer.

Through its Facebook page, in a post dated Nov. 19, Tarrytown Music Hall executive director Bjorn Olsson explained why the venue had not canceled Cosby’s shows, which are part of his rather unfortunately named “Far From Finished” tour.

“The way our business works is that a contract exists between Cosby and AM productions, the promoter, which in turn rents the Music Hall as a venue,” Olsson wrote. “If AM breaks their contract with Cosby, they still have to pay him the guarantee, same thing if we break the rental contract with AM, except they would then be forced to come after us to recoup the money the owe Cosby. Since he is a very expensive artist, this would be a tremendous blow to The Music Hall, likely to force layoffs and cuts in our community programs.

“So, in short, cancelling the show or refunding tickets would not hurt Bill Cosby, only The Music Hall, a non profit organization, and the promoter.”

Casinos in Las Vegas and Arizona canceled Cosby performance dates, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst cut ties with Cosby last week.

On Saturday, the music hall posted an update:

The Journal News reported the music hall sent an e-mail to ticketholders that read: “Mr. Cosby’s management is now allowing for refunds for any patron’s that do not wish to attend the show. Please let me know if I may cancel and refund your order.”

It’s unclear whether AM Productions will offer the refund for future Cosby stand-up shows. In fact, there’s no mention of the comedian on the production and management company’s Web site at all. Cosby is not listed under the company’s artists, nor are his upcoming shows listed under “shows by venue” at Tarrytown Music Hall.

Cosby received a standing ovation when he recently performed a sold-out show in Melbourne, Fla. When an audience member shouted “We love you, Bill Cosby” he responded with one fist raised above his head.