A topless protester who charged at Bill Cosby as he arrived at his sexual-assault retrial Monday morning has been identified as Nicolle Rochelle, a 39-year-old actress who appeared in four episodes of The Cosby Show. Rochelle jumped over a barricade outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in suburban Philadelphia and got within a few feet of the comedian, 80, who has been charged with drugging and molesting a woman in 2004. Rochelle, a resident of Little Falls, New Jersey, was obstructed by policemen and charged with disorderly conduct.
Rochelle belongs to Femen, an international feminist group whose name she had written on her torso in paint alongside the phrases “Women’s Lives Matter” and “Cosby Rapis[t]” and the names of more than 50 Cosby accusers.Femen leader, Inna Shevchenko, said that Rochelle was defending the alleged victims and called her protest the group’s “contribution to the global revolt launched by #MeToo.” Femen was founded in Ukraine in 2009, and its members have protested, often topless, against people and institutions that they believe oppress women. Last summer, two women interrupted Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band’s concert in Germany and reportedly yelled, “Stop the culture of silence,” highlighting allegations that Allen abused his daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was a child. Cosby spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, commended the policemen for intercepting Rochelle, saying, “You never know who’s going to want to make a name for themselves.”