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Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Allegations to Be Included in Smithsonian Exhibit

Visitors will be made aware that comedian’s ”legacy has been severely damaged“ by accusations, museum director says

The sexual assault allegations that have engulfed Bill Cosby for more than a year will be acknowledged in an upcoming Smithsonian exhibit, the museum’s director said on Thursday.

Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian’s upcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture, said that the exhibit featuring Bill Cosby will note that the comedian’s “legacy has been severely damaged by the recent accusations,” while also acknowledging his achievements in entertainment.

The exhibit, “Taking the Stage,” will explore “the history of African American participation in film, theater and television,” Bunch said.

“This is not an exhibition that ‘honors or celebrates’ Bill Cosby but one that acknowledges his role, among many others, in American entertainment,” Bunch added. “Some people feel that the Smithsonian should eliminate all mention of Bill Cosby as a result of recent revelations. We understand but respectfully disagree.”

Bunch noted that the museum will strive to tell “the unvarnished truth,” particularly regarding Cosby.

“This museum seeks to tell, in the words of the eminent historian John Hope Franklin, ‘the unvarnished truth’ that will help our visitors to remember and better understand what has often been erased and forgotten. Like all of history, our interpretation of Bill Cosby is a work in progress, something that will continue to evolve as new evidence and insights come to the fore,” Bunch concluded. “Visitors will leave the exhibition knowing more about Mr. Cosby’s impact on American entertainment, while recognizing that his legacy has been severely damaged by the recent accusations.”

The museum is scheduled to open on Sept. 24.

Cosby has been accused of raping or sexually assaulting dozens of women, many of whom claim that he drugged them beforehand.

The comedian has been hit with multiple lawsuits by accusers, and faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania stemming from the accusations of former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.

Cosby has denied the allegations, and in some cases has filed his own lawsuits against his accusers.