President Obama Issues Grammys Statement: Violence Against Women Must End; Bill Cosby Faces New Allegations

( [email protected] ) Feb 09, 2015 06:10 PM EST
President Barack Obama made a surprise speech during a taped appearance at the Grammys on Sunday night, urging everyone to stop violence against women. He made those comments as another woman accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her back in 1987.

President Barack Obama made a surprise speech during a taped appearance at the Grammys on Sunday night, urging everyone to stop violence against women.

According to Fox News, the speech was part of the "It's On Us" campaign. He encouraged both artists and viewers of the 57th Annual Academy Awards to pledge to end violence against women.

"Together we can change our culture for the better by ending violence against women and girls," Obama said. "Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us thinking and talking about what matters, and all of us, in our lives, have the power to set an example. Join our campaign to stop this violence."

Fox News reported that after the president's short speech, a domestic violence survivor named Brooke Axtell shared her story on stage.

"Authentic love does not de-value another human being," Axtell said. "Authentic love does not silence, shame, or abuse."

After she shared her story on stage, Katy Perry performed an emotional rendition of her song "By the Grace of God."

The president's call to end violence against women comes on new reports that another woman has come out to accuse legendary American comedian Bill Cosby of sexual violence against her. According to Tracee M. Herbaugh of the Associated Press, the latest accusation came from former fashion model and actress Helen Gumpel, formerly known as Helen Selby.

"I never thought of myself as a victim because I refused his advances," Gumpel said. "But my career was a victim."

According to the Associated Press, Gumpel said on Sunday that Cosby made sexual advances and lewd gestures toward her while on the set of "The Cosby Show" back in 1987.

"She was called to the show's set for what she thought was another audition shortly after filming the one episode in 1987," Herbaugh wrote. "She said she was brought to Cosby's dressing room and Cosby had her sit on a couch and handed her a drink. She said Cosby then stood in front of her with his crotch in her face."

The Associated Press reported that Gumpel made the allegations at a news conference she held in a downtown Boston hotel hours after the comedian canceled back-to-back comedy shows scheduled on Sunday at the Wilbur Theater. In a statement, Cosby said that the shows were canceled due to inclement weather.

"The Wilbur Theater announced on its website Sunday morning that the shows were canceled but did not say why," Herbaugh wrote. "It apologized for the abrupt change and said tickets would be refunded."

According to the Associated Press, Cosby's lawyer Marty Singer has not replied yet to the latest accusations from Gumpel. However, Cosby did issue a statement to Gayle Fee of the Boston Herald on Saturday, thanking his fans for their support.

"Dear Fans: GOD has Blessed me with a wonderful gift to share with all of you," Cosby wrote in the statement. "For 53 years I have continued to master this gift, which heals the soul and warms hearts. Laughter! I thank you, the theatre staff (Wilbur Theatre), the event organizers and the Boston Community for your continued support and coming to experience family, fun entertainment. Hey, Hey, Hey - I'm Far From Finished."

The Associated Press reported that the 77-year-old comedian has faced sexual assault accusations from at least 15 women. However, attorney and victims advocate Wendy Murphy told Fee that Cosby's reaction showed that he had a "tin soul."

"It's one thing to have a tin ear for public sentiment. This guy has a tin soul," Murphy said. "It takes an extraordinary degree of arrogance for this guy to think anyone would want to be in the same room with him. Indeed, it is exactly that personality trait that makes decent people feel compelled to protest."

The Associated Press reported that Cosby has denied all allegations and has never been charged with a crime.

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