President Obama on Wednesday said the actions famous funnyman Bill Cosby has been accused of, and which Cosby has admitted in court testimony that was recently made public, constitute rape.
Speaking at the White House, Obama said his policy is not to comment directly on ongoing criminal matters. But Obama didn't shy away from the question of what constitutes rape, issuing a stern response that strongly condemned Cosby's alleged actions without naming or implicating him directly.
"If you give a woman, or a man, without his or her knowledge a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that's rape," he said. "And I think this country — any civilized country — should have no tolerance for rape."
Obama declined to comment on whether he will revoke Bill Cosby's Presidential Medal of Freedom in response to new evidence that the famous funnyman drugged women to have sex with him. The Medal of Freedom is the highest award given a civilian for their contributions to society, and President George W. Bush presented it to Cosby in 2002.
But the once widely popular comedian, known as "America's Dad" for his role as Cliff Huxtable in the popular situation comedy "The Cosby Show," is facing a firestorm of criticism and criminal charges for multiple allegations that he used Quaaludes to drug women and then have sex with them.
Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, have signed a petition to revoke Cosby's Medal of Freedom.
The group behind the petition, Preventing Awareness/Victim Empowerment, or PAVE, as of early this week has collected more than 7,500 signatures, more than 90,000 shy of the number that would require an official response from the White House.