Bill Cosby’s Topless Protestor Says She Wanted To ‘Make People Think About Women’s Bodies’ During The Actor’s Sexual Assault Retrial

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The former Cosby Show actress who was arrested for protesting topless at Bill Cosby‘s retrial on Monday wanted to make the disgraced comedian feel “uncomfortable.”

Speaking to People after her arrest, Nicolle Rochelle (above) said she felt Cosby’s trial had diverged from being about alleged rape and assault to “being publicized with this narrative of race.” So, she decided to “lend [her] body” to remind people this trial was about women’s bodies.

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She explained to the publication:

“He’s a man who’s disempowered women’s bodies for decades. It doesn’t seem to be recognized. The case is being publicized with this narrative of race. He’s being painted as the victim. I wanted to emphasize that this is about rape. I wanted to make him uncomfortable and to make people think about women’s bodies.”

The 39-year-old, who appeared on four episodes of the Cosby Show under the name Nicole Leach between 1990 and 1992, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after protesting outside the Pennsylvania courthouse where the actor’s sexual assault retrial began.

Rochelle had the words “Women’s Lives Matter,” as well as the names of some of the 80-year-old actor’s accusers, written across her bare chest — a bold move she hopes sparks conversation:

“People are like why is she naked? I hope this causes people to engage more. Of course, I have no idea what Bill Cosby was thinking but I would hope that he stops for a minute and think about his own truth. At the moment, 61 women aren’t allowed to testify against him. That’s pretty appalling. The very least I could do is lend my body to this cause.”

Lending her body to give power back to other women’s bodies — we can’t think of a better cause!

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As for her own time with the actor, Rochelle says the set of the Cosby Show was always a very family friendly atmosphere — but cautions she could have easily turned into one of his victims under different circumstances:

“The protest wasn’t about me knowing him, but there’s a part of me that feels betrayed because I can understand what the victims were feeling. Like, that could have been me, I could’ve undergone the abuse as well.”

In an earlier statement to People, the actress revealed her protest was also inspired by her involvement with the international Women’s activist movement called Femen — the same group that protested Donald Trump on election day (also topless):

“My action today was first and foremost an action lead by the group I joined in Europe about a year-and-half ago called Femen. Femen is an international Women’s movement of topless female activists painted with slogans and our mission is protesting the patriarchy and reclaiming our bodies.”

They sure know how to make an entrance, but Rochelle and her fellow Femen still have a lot of reclaiming to do.

[Image via Guillermo Proano/WENN & Bart&Baker/YouTube.]

Apr 10, 2018 10:46am PST

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