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Tacoma’s Broadway Center cancels Bill Cosby appearance

Tacoma’s Broadway Center for the Performing Arts has canceled an April show that was to feature comedian Bill Cosby.

Cosby, 77, has been under fire in recent weeks as multiple women have come forward to accuse him of sexually assault.

Cosby’s appearance at downtown Tacoma’s Pantages Theater was scheduled for April 18. The Broadway Center already had sold $50,000 worth of tickets as of Friday, when officials decided to cancel the event, said David Fischer, the Broadway Center’s executive director.

Fischer said in a phone interview Friday that “the issues surrounding Mr. Cosby right now challenge us in our ability to serve our mission, and put us in a position of some financial harm.”

“I think we both have a responsibility to the community and to our own financial management to be thoughtful and careful,” Fischer said. “If we were to move forward, we worry about the experience of the event, and cannot guarantee a quality experience.”

In a press release, Fischer also said: “This decision is not intended to pass judgment on Mr. Cosby.”

The Broadway Center’s office will be reaching out to ticket holders in the coming days to inform them of the cancellation and to offer them an exchange or a refund, according to a Broadway Center press release. Ticket prices to Cosby’s show ranged from $55 to $129, according to a brochure previewing the Broadway Center’s 2014-15 season.

The Broadway Center isn’t alone in canceling appearances by the popular “Cosby Show” headliner. His upcoming performances in Illinois, Arizona, South Carolina and Las Vegas also have been canceled as more women have come forward with claims about Cosby’s alleged sexual misconduct. Cosby’s television projects with Netflix and NBC have been shut down as well.

The Associated Press reports that more than six women have accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them. The accusations stretch back decades.

Some of the women first made their accusations public in about 2005, when Andrea Costand filed a civil suit alleging that Cosby assaulted her, according to the AP. That case was settled out of court and never went to trial.

Cosby’s representatives have dismissed the accusations in statements to the press, and Cosby has refused to comment on the women’s claims.

In Tacoma, the Broadway Center brochure advertising Cosby’s April 18 appearance noted, “Bill Cosby has dazzled generations of fans with his comedy routines.”

“His comedy transcends age, gender and cultural barriers,” the brochure said.

Cosby’s producers said the comedian still was scheduled to perform a sold-out show Friday night in Melbourne, Florida, while at least 30 other shows remain on his schedule through May 2015, including one Nov. 29 in Yakima.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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