The topless protester who jumped over a barrier and rushed toward disgraced comedian Bill Cosby at the beginning of his sexual assault retrial on Monday in Norristown, Pa., has been identified as an activist as well as an actress who happened to appear on Cosby’s renowned sitcom The Cosby Show as a child.
According to the Associated Press, Nicolle Rochelle is a member of Femen, a European feminist group known for its topless protests. Rochelle told reporters that her goal was to send a clear message to the 80-year-old actor.
“The main goal was to make Cosby uncomfortable because that is exactly what he has been doing for decades to women,” she told reporters after she was released from police custody.
Photos of Rochelle quickly spread Monday, the first day of Cosby’s retrial on sexual assault charges, her nude torso painted with the names of Cosby’s several accusers, along with the slogan “Women’s Lives Matter.”
The activist was taken into custody and charged under Disorderly Conduct, Title 18, Section 5503(A4), defined as “the intent to cause a public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof,” according to People magazine.
If convicted, Rochelle could face a fine.
The 39-year-old, of Little Falls, N.J., guest-starred on a number of episodes of The Cosby Show more than 25 years ago, and acknowledged that she didn’t have any bad experiences while there; nor did she intend to harm the comedian in any way. She said it was more of a confrontation.
“I wanted him to feel something. I wanted him to feel what he did and have it be in his face,” Rochelle said. “I wanted to approach him, but I didn’t want to touch him at all.
“When a woman is nude, it usually attracts attention, and that was definitely the goal,” she added. “To attract attention to the fact that women are not laying down peacefully and taking this kind of treatment, and that people are against Cosby.”
Nonetheless, authorities have warned Rochelle to stay away from the courthouse, which is a warning she says she intends to heed.