SANDUSKY, Ohio- Security was tight both outside and inside the historic State Theatre in downtown Sandusky Friday night as scores of fans filed in to see comedian Bill Cosby.
Despite the current controversy surrounding the 77-year-old, nearly every seat was filled for the performance and he received a standing ovation when he stepped out on stage.
“I base my opinions on a lifetime of great work,” said Tyrone Wicks, “Not upon the allegations of some people 30-40 years later.”
More than two dozen women have publicly accused Cosby of drugging and raping them over the years. Many of them are now older and have said they were too afraid to come forward sooner because of Cosby’s star power, finances and influence.
Several have said they are only speaking out to show support for other alleged victims.
A few protestors outside of the theater carried signs that read, “Violence against women is no joke.”
CeCe Hesch said she understands why the women remained silent. “That’s real common with victims of sexual assault to not come out right away.”
A growing number of protestors have aggressively heckled Cosby on stage at other shows most recently in Ontario, Canada which led to some tour stops being cancelled before and after the Sandusky stop, but everything Friday night was calm despite the deep emotions felt by some.
A local artist who works nearby, John Hoelzer, said, “Honestly I think Bill should have cancelled.”
Cosby himself hasn’t publicly commented on the allegations but through his attorney has denied any wrongdoing and he has also not been convicted of any crime.
Bill Cosby thanked the Sandusky community for their support.
Meanwhile, attorney Gloria Allred, who's working with many of the alleged victims, released a statement that reads in part:
"All of the alleged victims whom I represent are not laughing at Bill Cosby and do not find him funny. They would like their day with him, not in a theater but in a courtroom before a judge and jury."