The controversy surrounding Bill Cosby’s rape allegations has led to a plethora of companies and organizations severing ties with comedian. As he now faces up to ten years in jail for charges of aggravated indecent assault, one politician is looking to discontinue Cosby’s relationship with yet another establishment: The White House. According to TIME, Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar has introduced a bill that will allow President Obama to revoke Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom.
When probed about rescinding Cosby’s honor back in July, President Obama said that there was “no precedent for revoking a medal” under law. Now that Gosar is looking to implement legislation, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told ABC News that Obama will have to “take a look” at the possibility.
“It’s something that Congress will have to consider,” Earnest said. “We’ll take a look at the proposal if Congress takes a vote on it and we’ll let you know if the President chooses to sign it.”
Since accusations against Cosby began to mount, several of his honors have been stripped. Spelman College discontinued his endowed professorship, Drexel, Brown, and Fordham Universities revoked his honorary degrees, Disney’s Hollywood Studios removed a statue in his likeness, and New York University removed “William H. Cosby” from the name of its Future Filmmakers Workshop. While Obama did not condemn Cosby directly, he did express a discontent with the act of rape, defining the act with regard to the allegations against the actor. “If you give a woman — or a man, for that matter — without his or her knowledge a drug and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape,” he said. Earnest referred to those sentiments when discussing Cosby’s Medal of Freedom.
“Symbolic commemorations are always difficult to deal with,” Earnest said. “But I think the President was quite clear in that news conference in showing his own personal disgust for the kind of behavior that Mr. Cosby is accused of, and you know the President made clear that he doesn’t have any tolerance for it.”
Congress has not approved Gosar’s proposal as yet. Cosby is expected to return to court on Jan. 14.