The Obama administration is facing increasing pressure to revoke Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, but the White House doesn’t know whether that’s possible.
The award was given to Cosby in 2002 by then-President George W. Bush, but in light of the revelation that Cosby admitted in a 2005 deposition to buying quaaludes to have sex with women, a petition asking for its removal is gaining steam.
In just two days, the petition on whitehouse.gov has gained more than 4,000 signatures. It needs 100,000 to force a White House response.
It reads as follows:
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest award bestowed on civilians for their contributions to society. Bill Cosby does not deserve to be on the list of distinguished recipients.
PAVE: Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment, a national nonprofit dedicated to sexual assault prevention and victim empowerment, is rallying supporters to remedy this injustice.
Cosby admitted to procuring drugs to have sex with women without their consent. He has been accused of serial rape by dozens of others.
We cannot yet give his accusers their day in court, but we can fight back in the court of public opinion.
We urge the administration to take the unprecedented action of revoking this award.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that staff would investigate whether revocation of the honor was possible.
It would be the first time a Presidential Medal of Freedom was revoked.
“I haven’t, at this point, heard any discussion of taking that step,” Earnest said. “But I can tell you that, as a general matter, this administration has been very focused on countering sexual assault, and doing so in a variety of settings.”
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