SANDUSKY -- Just before Bill Cosby's performance at the Sandusky State Theatre tonight, it was more of a media spectacle of cameras and microphones than controversy, as regional media outnumbered local protestors by at least 15 to 2.
But Bev Penfield said she knew she had to be here.
Holding a sign that read “Respect Women. Rape is No Joke,” the 69-year-old shivered in the cold as Cosby fans paraded by and into the theater. Ms. Penfield said she was protesting on behalf of herself and for the Oberlin Chapter of the National Organization of Women.
“It probably doesn't accomplish anything,” she said, “but it makes me feel better, rather than sitting at home and not doing anything.”
Cece Hesch, the other protestor, said she was shocked by the allegations of dozens of women that Cosby drugged and raped them. Holding a sign that said “Violence Against Women is Not a Joke,” Ms. Hesch said she hoped those filing into the theater would think twice about attending Cosby's performance.
“I want the people as they're going in to know that … coming to the show is making a statement that we value entertainment more than doing the right thing. Coming out and having a good time is more important than supporting those victims.”
Millie and Larry McCready, a couple in their 70s from Sandusky who are longtime fans of the comic, said they don't believe the allegations.
“I figured he could have any woman he wanted,” Ms. McCready said. “Why would he give them drugs? Nobody's taken him to court.”
Added her husband: “I'll believe it when he goes to jail.”
David Taylor, executive director of the Sandusky State Theatre, said 1,100 seats had been sold at the 1,500-seat auditorium, with approximately 30 asking for refunds. The show is scheduled for 8 p.m.