— -- Bill Cosby is responding to questions about allegations of sexual assault for the first time in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Linsey Davis.
The actor and comedian is in Alabama, where he is spreading his message of education, preparing to speak with students later today. Cosby, 77, admitted that he expects some backlash.
“I think that many of them may say, ‘Well, you are a hypocrite. You say one thing, you say another,’” he told Davis. “My point is, 'OK, listen to me carefully. I’m telling you where the road is out. I’m telling you where, as you drive, you are going to go into the water. Now, you want to go here or you want to be concerned about who is giving you the message?'”
More than 30 women have come forward in the past six months, some accusing Cosby of drugging or sexually assaulting them. His legal team has issued a number of denials. Cosby has never been criminally charged. Three of his accusers have filed a defamation lawsuit against him, which Cosby is trying to get dismissed.
In an effort to turn the page, Cosby is now part of an initiative to bring awareness about the state of underfunded schools near Selma, Alabama. But will the allegations overshadow his message?
“It’s interesting. When I talk to people they will say, ‘This is a situation that’s unprecedented.’ I, my family, my friends, I have been in this business 52 years," he said. "I’ve never seen anything like this. And reality is the situation. And I can’t speak.”
Cosby has been invited to walk across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge with students as part of a “March for Education.” The program is hosted by the Black Belt Community Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving the lives of citizens in a 12-county section of Alabama known as the “Black Belt” area.
Cosby’s participation sparked an online firestorm, something that organizers admit made them think twice about his involvement.
“We had some very rich discussions about it, but at the end of the day what was most important was: How do we make sure the world knows that Black Belt children matter?” said Felecia Lucky, the organization’s president.
Cosby, whose long career has included his portrayal of Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” still talks about the possibility of a return to TV.
“I really know about what I want to do tomorrow -- in the tomorrows that follow,” he told Davis. “I have a ton of ideas to put on television for a series about people and their behavior and their love for each other.”