Cosby to perform at Christian school benefit next month

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

HENDERSON, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) -- For Bill Cosby, the show will go on at Freed-Hardeman University next month in Henderson. The school's 50th annual benefit to raise funds for student scholarships is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 5, and will feature the 77 year-old comedian as a guest speaker.

More than a dozen sexual-assault allegations against Cosby the past several weeks has "taken the university by surprise" according to Dawn Bramblett, a public relations representative for the school. 

Still, as of now, Cosby is the scheduled speaker at the FHU fundraiser. Bramblett told the Jackson Sun to date the school has raised nearly $1 million from the near sold-out event.

Should Cosby decide to cancel his appearance, Bramblett said, the event will continue.

"I'm confident the dinner would happen regardless," she said. "Regardless of what would happen with the speaker. The event is about raising more than $1 million for the students' scholarships. The speaker is secondary to that. People are giving to it because they are helping students."

A Nov. 19 Facebook post from the school addressed the issue of Cosby's attendance by stating the event will continue as planned. "We committed to a contract with Bill Cosby many months ago after soliciting input from alumni and friends," the statement read.

In the post, the school encouraged attendees to remember the "real people" involved in the recent claims.

"While we are reading stories in the media, they represent real people whose lives will be affected long after FHU's dinner has passed. Please join us in praying for healing and peace for those involved."

Cosby continues to face cancellations for dates related to his upcoming 2015 comedy tour. Additionally, NBC and Netflix shelved new projects that would have revived the actor's television career.

Cosby has been mostly silent about the accusations, though his lawyers repeatedly have called the claims false.

The school's benefit dinner will be held in the school's Loyd Auditorium at 6 p.m. For more information about the event and the scholarships it supports visit the school's website or call 731-989-6017.