First Amendment

Gloria Allred sues venue that barred her from Bill Cosby performance

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A lawyer representing women who allege sexual assault by Bill Cosby filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the government operators of an Atlanta venue that barred her from a Bill Cosby performance.

Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred says the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre barred her from a May 2 performance, though she had purchased a ticket, after she was placed on a “security watch list” by Cobb County, Georgia, police. She alleges violation of her free speech and due process rights.

A Cobb County police officer stationed at the Arts Centre told Allred she had been placed on the list by Cosby’s representatives, and she could be arrested for criminal trespass if she didn’t leave, according to the suit.

Defendants in the suit (PDF) are Cobb County, Georgia, the exhibit hall authority and its managing director. The New York Daily News, Courthouse News Service and the Wrap covered her allegations.

The suit claims the exposition authority and Cobb County allow police to exclude ticket holders from a performance based on their viewpoints, and control of that decision has been unlawfully delegated to the performers.

“This case is important to all protesters in the future,” Allred said in a press statement. “Performers should not be able to commandeer a police force (as Bill Cosby’s representatives appeared to do) in order to exclude individuals from the performance because they have a different viewpoint than the performer has.”

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