PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Heinz Hall will not be the venue for Bill Cosby. His Feb. 21 Pittsburgh appearance has been canceled.
That comes after dozens of women recently accused Cosby of sexual violations, including a local Pittsburgh woman.
“To be able to just say finally, openly that this man did this to me and it was wrong is a feeling that I cannot even express to you,” Renita Chaney-Hill said several weeks ago.
Cosby’s appearance was not sponsored by Heinz Hall, officials said. The venue was leased by National Artists Corporation, Cosby’s booking agent in Las Vegas and Annapolis. The company didn’t return calls.
Heinz Hall officials were not available on camera, but they told KDKA-TV the decision to cancel Cosby’s appearance was a mutual one made with Cosby’s agent.
It also turns out that the tickets for Cosby’s performance were not selling well. Less than half the seats were sold, and some of those folks with those tickets wanted their money back.
“I am so excited. I am so happy. I’m proud of Heinz. I’m glad we are speaking for the women. I feel like these women will know that they were heard,” Diana Fletcher of Murrysville told KDKA money & politics editor Jon Delano.
Fletcher led an online petition drive opposing Cosby’s Pittsburgh performance, but the decision to cancel was not universally received.
“If it had more to do with lack of ticket sales, that’s one thing,” noted Anthony McCune of Highland Park. “But if we’ve allowed some outside group to come in and protest and threaten Heinz Hall to not have him come, I’m disturbed by that.”
Calling it a slippery slope, McCune says Heinz Hall should not take sides on performers accused, but not convicted, of crimes.
“They’ve headed down a slippery slope because what’s the next person, what’s the next artist that may come to town that some folks may not agree with, or their politics, or whatever,” he said.
But Fletcher says the accusations are too strong from too many, even if no charges have been brought.
“I’m so tired of hearing innocent until proven guilty. I just don’t think that flies here,” she said.
Ticket holders will be refunded in full for their tickets by the Heinz Hall box office.
Ticket holders can contact the box office at 412-392-4900 with any questions.
Two shows scheduled for last weekend in Boston were also canceled, but the comedian cited snowstorms as the reason for the cancellations.
Since sexual assault accusations emerged last year, some of Cosby’s performances elsewhere have drawn heckling and protests and some have been canceled.