BOSTON (Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby, dogged by accusations that he sexually assaulted more than a dozen women in years past, has canceled a Sunday evening performance in downtown Boston, citing a forecast for heavy snow.
Activists had planned to picket the evening performance, angry that Cosby continues to make appearances despite the allegations against him.
About a foot (30 cm) of fresh snow could accumulate in Boston on Sunday, according the National Weather Service, blanketing a region that is still grappling with the aftermath of two major snowstorms since the end of January.
"I was looking forward to hearing your wonderful applause and seeing all those smiling faces," Cosby said in a statement, indicating that he planned to return to the city soon.
Before the cancellation, organizers said they had expected more than 100 people to gather outside the Wilbur Theatre, where the 77-year-old comedian was set to give back-to-back shows after a spate of canceled live gigs across the United States.
"There is strong community here in Boston who is passionate, concerned for survivors and dedicated to fighting against rape culture -- even if that means protesting in the snow," said Boston resident Brandie Skorker, 28, one of the protest organizers, in an email last week.
Cosby, known in the United States and beyond for the lovable father figure he played on "The Cosby Show," has denied allegations that he drugged and sexually abused dozens of women over a period spanning more than 40 years.
His lawyer has called the claims "discredited" and "defamatory".
He has not been charged over any of the accusations, some of which are decades old and fall outside the statute of limitations for criminal or civil cases. He settled a 2005 civil suit alleging sexual misconduct.
That has not stopped theaters from cancelling some of his performances, including one that had been planned on Feb. 6 in Worcester, Massachusetts, about 40 miles west of Boston. Last month, dozens of protesters gathered outside a Denver theater, changing "shame on you" as Cosby performed to an audience of hundreds of people.
Both Netflix and NBC have axed planned projects with the actor.
Cosby owns a home in Shelburne Falls, about 100 miles west of Boston, and he received his graduate degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The university in November asked him to resign as the face of a fundraising campaign.
(Additional reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa; Editing By Frank McGurty and Robin Pomeroy)