A growing number of people who had planned to take in Bill Cosby's show at Centre in the Square in Kitchener, Ont., tonight are attempting to sell their tickets online at a reduced rate in light of the sex scandal involving the American comedian.
A search on Kijiji in Kitchener-Waterloo shows at least two full pages of private ads for Cosby tickets offered at a discount.
One ad shows four tickets purchased for $400 are now going for $250.
Aatif Baskanderi is offering, at half price, the six tickets he bought for his family for $600, after he and his family decided they did not want to attend the show due to the multiple allegations of sexual assault against Cosby.
Cosby, whose acting credits include having starred as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992, has never been criminally charged in connection with any of the sex assault allegations, and has denied them, including through his lawyer.
Baskanderi said he initially tried to get a refund, but was denied by Centre in the Square.
"The thing that disappointed me was the justification of it," said Baskanderi. "The way they went against it was, 'Yeah, we understand, we also have concerns, but it's purely for financial reasons that we're not cancelling it.'"
Alicia Hendley is a clinical psychologist in Guelph who has been following developments in Kitchener closely, since she was both a big fan of Cosby's work and a victim of sexual assault when she was a teenager.
She says she's not convinced Centre in the Square had no other alternative to address its potential financial troubles with the promoter if the venue had cancelled the show. She believes the community would have offered support through fundraising if the organization had called it off.
"I don't believe for a second people would have turned their backs on Centre in the Square," said Hendley. "I don't buy it. I just don't."
Cosby releases rare statement
In a statement on its website, Centre in the Square said breaking the contract with the promoter, Innovation Arts and Entertainment, would have to have involved compensation for box office losses and show expenses, a refund of all tickets and paying back "any guarantee fee contracted to Mr. Cosby."
It added that while the organization is aware of the Cosby controversy, commercial rental shows are crucial for the venue to earn sufficient funds to continue operations.
In a rare statement issued by Cosby to his fans, he warned them not to interact with protesters who may disrupt his shows in Ontario. Protesters are expected to be outside Centre in the Square, and an alternative event in support of sexual assault victims will be held at another Kitchener venue.
The organizers say anyone who shows up with a Cosby ticket can have free admission to the alternative event.
Cosby is also scheduled to perform at Budweiser Gardens in London on Thursday and at Hamilton Place Theatre on Friday.