BILL Cosby has spoken out for the first time against allegations of sexual abuse, saying he only expects the “black media” to remain “neutral”.
In an interview with the New York Post, the comic and actor praised his wife, Camille, for her “strength” in standing by him.
Cosby, 77, who has been accused of assault by more than a dozen women, said that he had been advised not to discuss the claims. But he asked reporters to remain impartial.
“I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind,” Cosby said.
New York Post reporter Stacy Brown said the actor sounded “upbeat” when speaking on the phone from his home in Massachusetts.
He said “love and the strength of womanhood” had helped him weather the controversy.
“Let me say it again, love and the strength of womanhood,” he added, “…the strength of womanhood and love.”
But the actor later cut his conversation short, saying: “They don’t want me talking to the media.”
Police in Los Angeles have opened an investigation into claims made by Judy Huth that Cosby molested her when she was 15 years old.
In her legal action, Ms Huth, now 55, claimed the actor gave her alcohol and forced her to perform a sex act on him in a bedroom of the Playboy Mansion around 1974.
Cosby is counter-suing, claiming that Ms Huth attempted to extort money from him. he has described her claims as “absolutely false”.
His lawyers, who have continued to deny the allegations on his behalf, recently issued a strongly-worded statement condemning the “media frenzy”.
The actor has never been charged with a crime but the accusations have led to a planned stand-up comedy tour being called off and the cancellation of a number of TV projects.
Yesterday an Atlanta college announced it was suspending its endowed professorship with Cosby due to the allegations. Spelman College was the latest to disassociate itself from him. His daughter attended university there, and in the 1980s he gave the school its largest ever single donation of $20m.
In a statement, Spelman College said the programme established in the name of Cosby and his wife was aimed at bringing positive attention and scholars to the campus, with a goal “to enhance our intellectual, cultural and creative life”.
The college said the current situation “prevents us from continuing to meet these objectives fully” and the programme will be suspended until the goals can again be met.
Meanwhile, last month the author of a new Bill Cosby biography apologised for not pursuing allegations that the comedian had drugged and sexually assaulted numerous women.
Mark Whitaker, whose Cosby: His Life and Times was published in September, tweeted that he was wrong not to “aggressively” look into the charges and promised to address them “at the appropriate time”.
“If true, the stories are shocking and horrible,” wrote Mr Whitaker, whose account was confirmed by his New York-based publisher, Simon & Schuster.