Obama on Bill Cosby: 'Any civilized country should have no tolerance for rape'

Obama cosbyREUTERS/Jason ReedU.S. President Barack Obama (C) leads entertainers including Bill Cosby (L) and James Taylor (R) on stage in a rendition of happy birthday for U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (not pictured) during a musical tribute to mark Kennedy’s 77th birthday at the Kennedy Center in Washington, March 8, 2009.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday made a veiled condemnation of comedian Bill Cosby.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Obama said that though he wouldn’t weigh in specifically on Cosby because of pending legal matters, he criticised Cosby’s admission that he gave a woman who he wanted to have sex with a sedative.

“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,” Obama said. “This country, any civilized country should have no tolerance for rape.”

Pressure has been building in the last few months for Obama to revoke the Presidential Medal of Freedom that President George W. Bush bestowed on Cosby in 2002. Anti-sexual violence advocacy groups have been circulating a petition to push Obama to remove Cosby from the list of honorees. The Medal is the highest civilian honour that an American can achieve.

Obama didn’t say whether he was considering revoking the honour, as there’s no precedent for rescinding a the medal of freedom.

Though he has never been charged with a crime, more 30 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault.

Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported that Cosby admitted under oath to giving a woman Quaalude’s, a sedative, to a woman that he wanted to have sex with.

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