The Navy has revoked Bill Cosby’s honorary title as a Master Chief Petty Officer in the wake of recent allegations of sexual assault involving the famous comedian. The Navy veteran had received the honorary award three years ago.
On Thursday Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that Cosby’s honorary title of Master Chief Petty Officer had been revoked.
In a statement posted on the Navy’s website Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael Stevens said they were taking the action “because allegations against Mr. Cosby are very serious and are in conflict with the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment.”
In recent weeks at least 18 women have gone public with allegations of sexual assault against the comedian, some involving accusations of rape.
The Navy’s move is the latest instance of Cosby’s unraveling ties as the allegations have emerged. In the last week Cosby has stepped down as a Trustee at Temple University and as a fundraising chair at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, both schools he had attended.
Cosby enlisted in the Navy in 1956 and served for four years as a hospital corpsman before being honorably discharged in 1960 as a 3rd Class Petty Officer.
The Navy veteran received the award at a February 17, 2011 ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Cosby’s lawyer did not return requests for comment today, but in a statement last month, he called the recent allegations against Cosby “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories.”
Links on the Navy’s website to a Navy News Service article and all accompanying photos of that event are no longer working. Instead the links yield an announcement that “the file you have requested is not currently available.” Other articles on the Navy site detailing Cosby’s interactions the Navy since then are still functioning.
An archived version of the article on the Internet said that during his Navy service Cosby was a hospital corpsman working as a physical therapist to rehabilitate Korean War veterans. The article said it was “a duty he liked and excelled at.” Cosby was also an athlete for the Navy who played football, baseball, and running track and field.
In presenting the award Mabus said at the event: “Bill Cosby is not just a comedian and an actor, although he’s pretty good at both, he’s also been a tireless advocate for social responsibility and education – and a constant friend to the Navy.”
According to the article, Cosby said “the years I spent in the Navy and so many moments remembering that the Navy gave me a wake-up call. The Navy showed me obedience and that’s the thing that pushed me to realize the mistakes I had made in my young life at 19-years-old and that I could do something with myself and become somebody.”