A woman was arrested on Monday and charged with disorderly conduct after going topless during a protest outside of Bill Cosby‘s sexual assault retrial.
This action made headlines across the Internet even before we learned the woman’s identity.
Her name is Nicolle Rochelle.
Why is this relevant?
Because Rochelle is a former actress who actually appeared on four episodes of The Cosby Show back in the early 1990s.
According to IMDB, Rochelle portrayed a woman named Nicole Leach during her appearances opposite Cosby on his iconic sitcom.
On Monday morning, however, Rochelle jumped over a barricade and charged at the disgraced comedian outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
She had the words “Women’s Lives Matter” scrawled in red on her topless body at the time.
The 38-year old also scrawled the first names of some of Cosby’s alleged victims across her torso, including Andrea Constand, whom the 80-year-old actor is accused of drugging and molesting in 2004.
Altogether, Cosby is accused of assaulting over 50 women.
Rochelle – who also appeared in episodes of Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order and NYPD Blue – does not face any prison time; but could face a fine for her actions.
Why did she take them?
In a photo posted on Facebook, she dons Cosby’s “Hello Friend” hoodie… but with the word “friend” crossed out and replaced with “rapist.”
And she writes as a caption:
“In honor of the first day of the Bill Cosby retrial, I went by the address where they filmed The Cosby Show exterior in New York City. LET’S HOPE JUSTICE WILL FINALLY BE SERVED!”
Rochelle also spoke to People Magazine after her arrest, explaining herself as follows 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.”
Cosby stood trial in 2017 after being accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Constand at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion.
In June, a Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial after the jury announced that they were “hopelessly deadlocked” after deliberating for days.
Rochelle, and nearly everyone else across the globe, is hoping for a different outcome this time around.
“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,” Rochelle said in a statement last night, adding:
“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.
“Protesting Bill Cosby was important for us because he is a man who has been disempowering women’s bodies for decades and in being naked today.
“I was symbolically taking back the ownership of all the victims’ bodies and redefining it as a political tool as opposed to a sexual object.”