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Bill Cosby’s Kennedy Center Honors Rescinded

Comedian convicted of sexual assault last month had received two honorary awards from Washington, D.C.-based organization

The board of trustees for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Monday that it has rescinded the two awards that it previously presented to Bill Cosby, who was convicted on sexual assault charges last month.

Cosby was a member of the 1998 class of the Kennedy Center Honors and received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2009.

“The Honors and Mark Twain Prize are given to artists who, through their lifetime of work, have left an indelible impact on American culture,” the Kennedy Center board said in a statement. “As a result of Mr. Cosby’s recent criminal conviction, the Board concluded that his actions have overshadowed the very career accomplishments these distinctions from the Kennedy Center intend to recognize.”

The announcement comes four days after Cosby was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences along with director Roman Polanski, a fugitive in the U.S. who fled the country after pleading guilty to charges stemming from his drugging and raping of a 13 year old girl and who has since been accused of rape by several other women. The Academy expelled Cosby and Polanski through a bylaw allowing the AMPAS board of directors to immediately expel a member “for cause” with a two-thirds vote.

Cosby was convicted on April 26 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in January 2004. Each count could result in a sentence of up to ten years, though they could be served concurrently.

Cosby also faces four civil lawsuits from ten other women accusing him of defamation and sexual abuse. Among them is model Janice Dickinson, who claims Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 1982, and two women who accuse Cosby of assaulting them at the Playboy Mansion, including one who was 15 at the time of the alleged incident.