DENVER — About 100 people chanting “Rape is not a joke!” and “No means no!” protested outside a theater in Denver before comedian Bill Cosby took the stage on Saturday, but his first of two performances of the night went on without a disturbance.
Earlier in the day, a woman held a news conference at a nearby hotel to accuse him of sexually assaulting her in 1986.
Beth Ferrier said during the gathering called by Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred that Cosby put drugs in her coffee when she went to see one of his shows in Denver.
“I cannot tell you how horrific of a feeling that is,” she said, adding that the next thing she remembered was waking up hours later in the back of her car “practically naked.”
Ferrier, 55, has said previously she was assaulted by Cosby. She went public on June 23, 2005, alleging that as a model visiting New York in the early 1980s, she met Cosby and they had a brief affair.
The 77-year-old comedian is facing sexual assault accusations from at least 15 women, with some of the claims dating back decades. He has denied the allegations through his attorney and has never been charged with a crime. A statement from Cosby’s publicist was not immediately available Saturday night.
Cosby was welcomed to the stage during his first show with a standing ovation and hoots of “We love you Bill!” He did not make any reference to the allegations during the two-hour-long show.
Longtime Cosby fan Robert Belveal, 48, of Denver, said the protesters outside did nothing to deter him from attending.
“I believe that if you’re not convicted of a crime, then why should you be judged? All it takes is for one person to say something, then you have all these other people wanting to get their 15 minutes of fame,” he said of Cosby’s accusers.
On Friday, Cosby performed at a packed show in Pueblo. About 25 demonstrators gathered outside, chanting “no means no” and “Colorado believes the women.”
But inside the venue, the crowd warmly welcomed Cosby. Making his first appearance in Pueblo since a 1996 show at the Colorado State Fair, he was embraced by a mostly middle-aged and older crowd.
On Thursday, Cosby released a statement thanking his fans and saying he’s ready to perform in Colorado.
“I have thousands of loyal, patient and courageous fans that are going to leave their homes to enjoy an evening of laughter and return home feeling wonderful,” he said. “I’m ready!”
He finished his statement with references to his “Fat Albert” character’s trademark line and to his 2013 television special — “Hey, Hey, Hey — I’m Far From Finished.”
Cosby’s persistence comes after protesters interrupted a handful of his recent shows.
Hecklers stood up and chanted repeatedly “we believe the women” at Cosby’s third and final performance of a Canadian tour Jan. 9. The protesters then marched out of the theater as Cosby asked his audience not to react.
The day before, a man at Cosby’s performance in London, Ontario, called the comedian a rapist. The shows in Canada were the comedian’s first since November when a string of performances were canceled over the accusations.
More recently, a model who claims Cosby drugged and sexually abused her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008 met with Los Angeles police on Wednesday to pursue criminal charges. Chloe Goins’ attorney said that his client is the first woman accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct whose case may fall within the statute of limitations.
Cosby’s attorney, Martin D. Singer, said Friday the comedian was in New York the night Goins claims she was accosted.
Cosby is scheduled to continue his tour Sunday in Turlock, California.
THOMAS PEIPERT, Associated Press