Brandy Thought Her Petition Failed. She Was Wrong.

Brandy Betts lives in Chicago, but that didn’t stop her from charging down to Atlanta, Ga., to organize a protest against Bill Cosby’s performance at the Cobb Energy Center last year.

Brandy started a Care2 petition calling on the Center to cancel Cosby’s show at the venue after more than 40 women accused him of sexually assaulting them. (That number has now grown to nearly 60 women.) Last week, she spoke to Care2 members at our second Activist University training about her experience gathering signatures for her petition and fighting for justice. (You can watch Brandy’s full discussion here.)

And here’s something that may surprise you: while Brandy didn’t technically win her campaign, her petition didn’t fail Ė it was a huge success.

So how is that possible?

Let’s back up for a minute. Brandy’s petition asked for Cosby’s show to be cancelled, but it went ahead as scheduled. The venue informed Brandy that the terms of their contract made it nearly impossible to cancel the show.

But rather than let that deter her, Brandy renewed her commitment to raise awareness of Cosby’s crimes and to take a stand against a broader rape culture. Focusing on one of his performances was a key way to communicate that message Ė and if the show would still go on, then Brandy decided she would be there to deliver her message in person.

Brandy connected with survivors of Bill Cosby on Facebook, and from there, she spent weeks working with other activists to plan a huge protest outside of his Atlanta show. The group of organizers decided to make sure that Cosby would have to face the women who were standing against him.

So, on the day of Cosby’s last show on his 2015 tour, he was greeted by the sight of Brandy and her co-organizers standing outside the venue with signs and custom-made shirts denouncing his history of abuse. Two survivors, their families and a prominent civil rights lawyer all attended the rally in front of the very place where Cosby was performing. The group also staged a press conference where yet another Cosby survivor came forward and revealed her identity.

At first, Brandy was worried because only 12 actual protesters gathered at the scene. But the protest and petition had generated so much negative publicity that barely half of the Center was filled that night, even though Cosby had nearly sold out the show. Because of Brandy’s campaign, half of the tickets purchased for the performance went in the trash.

And, according to Brandy, the press immediately swarmed their protest site, interviewing the survivors and their supporters, photographing their rally signs, and filming the press conference with rapt attention. Their message made headlines with CNN, The Washington Post, Time, NPR†and more. Documentarians who are putting together a soon-to-be-announced project attended, filming both inside the venue and outside, where the protest was taking shape.

Brandy even accomplished what she thought might be impossible: She made sure Bill Cosby himself knew the demonstrators were there, including his victims. Not only did Cosby himself drive past several times to observe what all the commotion was about, but their presence worried him enough that he set scores of North Atlanta police officers on the premises, both inside and outside the venue, to create a barrier between himself and his victims’ supporters.

After the media picked up the story and ran with it, people around the world began hearing about the campaign. Brandy watched, astounded, as the signature count on her petition took off, to reach a final count of more than 49,000 people. That’s 49,000 people who learned the stories of women who’ve been sexually assaulted by Cosby and who cared so much about it that they wanted to cancel just one single show.

And there’s just one more way in which Brandy’s petition was ultimately a success. Since her campaign and demonstration, Cosby has not announced another tour. She muses, “He knows he’ll never tour again.”

To hear Brandy talk about her story and to learn more tips about how to grow your signature count, watch our Activist University webinar here.

65 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Karen Swenson
Karen S2 years ago

Oh Gee, Daphne L---REALLY??? I did not know that there were some women who are just as vile as some men are. Women who work and act in porn movies according to you are automatically guilty of everything. Whats even worse are women who will never believe other women no matter how many there are accusing a man of a crime and even when this man admits to it. In their twisted thinking they think claiming bankruptcy, having a mental illness, drinking, drugs are all reasons not to be believed. Then you go on to defend drug use, except by these women, of course, as being something to take to loosen up. God, you are a pathetic piece of work. It is people like you who hurt Rape victims. According to your logic and suspicions, Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris were all framed too, because they were rich and celebrities. Isn't your tongue tired of licking the boots of Rapists!?

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Daphne L.
Daphne L2 years ago

who is hurt the most by all of this? Real rape victims, real victims. That's who.

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Daphne L.
Daphne L2 years ago

there are always women who go for men of money and power and fame. Always has been, always will be. There are always men who use their power/fortune/fame to get sexed. You are talking about women who used sex to their advantage and for their gain. A woman's worthy? I've heard that from a woman Vicky Carbe, who made rape movies. She made porn and used her body and wants to talk about dignity, as well as how men only looked at her rack? That was the whole intent was it not of posing naked, of being a bunny? Where is dignity, honor, she made rape movies for men and the most vile kind. Another tried to be a centerfold, but didn't make the grade I guess. She speaks to high school kids as if she is a role model.

There is a huge cover up on these accuser's backgrounds. Drugs, alcohol, mental illness, bankruptcies, lawsuits, gofundme accounts, questionable charities, frauds, liars, disbarred attorneys, crimes and prison, PJ did a similar thing to Marv Albert, remember that? We could go on if you want to know, but people believe what they want.

As far as talking drugs, people still use them, people still drink to loosen up, it's always been so. You say you remember those days. Then you know.

There have always been women who will use their sexuality for gain. The problem with that is, it doesn't last. And then unless you snagged or shagged your fortune, what is left?

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Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly2 years ago

Daphne-Really,this is a new piece of information I have never heard anywhere before. Please clarify.You say former Dr.Cosby (his honorary degrees have been stripped from him like a silk slip from a comatose starlet) repeatedly asked for and got prescriptions for women who met him only once or twice for an hour and it seems all they wanted from him was 1 or 2 pills. How very very strange. Couldn't they have found their own Dr.s? It was the era of The Valley of the Dolls after all. I remember pills being just about everywhere although doctors won't admit it now. At 16,I was taking seconal,nembutal,doriden, Biphetamines,percodan,& valium. Doctors in the 60's and 70's wrote prescriptions for everything. It was so much easier than listening to patients.
You might want to look up Cosby's depositions under oath.He admitted giving those pills to the women with alcohol knowing what the result would be. He also said each of those women were attracted to him because "he was very good at telling that sort of thing." Men tell themselves that even when they look like Danny DeVito. Why is that? The dumbstick rules everything? Are women worth nothing? Are their lives,their honor,their pride, their stories,irrelevant when compared to that of one powerful wealthy man? Judging by Herr Drumpf and his antics,it would certainly seem so. And that's a very great shame and disgrace -for men.

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Karen Swenson
Karen S2 years ago

Daphne L -- Yes Daphne, someone has to sign petitions and make the world a better place, because it certainly won't be you, will it. You're too busy with your career in defending rapists and trashing women who dare to come forward. Bill Cosby is guilty and even famous people who defended him to begin with, are now big enough to admit they were wrong. Daphne L--you would not know facts or truth, if it bit you in the butt and held on!

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Daphne L.
Daphne L2 years ago

Keran - just one more time. Cosby did not admit drugging women. He got drugs for women (teresa comes to mind) who asked for them. It was all the rage in those days. But you go ahead and believe what you want, don't let facts or truth stop you. I'm sure you are a very compassionate and caring person and are very concerned with victims. There must be some more petitions waiting for you signature so you can make the world a better place.

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Karen Swenson
Karen S2 years ago

Daphne L--- What does it take to get it through your dense head that Bill Cosby admitted, said, confessed, he sexually exploited these women, gave them drugs? HE ADMITTED IT!! YOU do not believe in anything, except your twisted inept thought process. CLUE, Daphne L. When someone admits to doing something-- that is the time to use YOUR two tiny little brain cells, let them rub together until they ignite a spark and then think----wait for it---, "HMMM, he admitted it---- HMMM, must mean--- he did it!"----DO YA THINK!!!???

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Daphne L.
Daphne L2 years ago

Probably one of the original reasons I started questioning when these accuser stories came out, was because there was such an obvious concerted effort to destroy Dr. Cosby and anyone who supported him or who asked questions. When simply asking a question and you get pounced on with vile, hatred and threats by a group of people that follow everyone, it became obvious that something else was going on. In all my years, I have never seen supporters of victims, act like these and it was quite obvious they were fake and more likely shills. Since that time, it has become glaringly obvious that something else is going on. I support our system and I support Dr. Cosby.

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Daphne L.
Daphne L2 years ago

what a mouth kren. you sound like one of the supporters. I can defend Dr. Cosby because I've seen what the accusers are and I've seen their stories ever change. Well, simple research turns up some real problems that the media keeps covered up. But keran, I also believe in our constitution and our civil and judicial rights. And I have seen them trampled on and perverted by this and it is quite alarming. We have seen a lot of damage to our system by this and by these accusers and their supporters. And I personally, and many that I know, have been harassed, stalked and lied about by the accuser supporters. The sound very much like you, hateful, intolerant and abusive to anyone who questions the accusers or dares have a differing opinion. Thank heaven karne, you don't rule the universe and this is still America where people have rights.

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