In 2002, President George W. Bush awarded Bill Cosby with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Now, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants him to give it back. The New York Democrat is supporting a petition launched by nonprofit group PAVE: Promoting Awareness/Victim Empowerment. The petition, which currently has over 7,000 signatures, urges the White House to revoke Cosby’s award.
On Friday, Gillibrand’s spokesperson, Glen Caplin, told Politico, “Kirsten has always advocated for listening to survivors’ voices. This 10-year-old admission is appalling, but sadly not surprising considering that dozens of women have been speaking out.” He continued, “She supports this group’s effort because we need to set a clear example that sexual assault will not be tolerated in this country, and someone who admitted to using drugs for sex no longer deserves the nation’s highest honor.” Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri is also backing the petition.
Barbara Bowman, one of the first women to speak out against Cosby, also voiced her support. “Symbols matter. Bill Cosby is not entitled to the nation’s highest honor. Mr. President, we know you are on our side in this fight. Please show it,” she said.
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