A sexual violence awareness group is demanding that the White House revoke Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, in light of the sexual assault allegations against him.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest award bestowed on civilians for their contributions to society,” states a petition started by the group Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment (PAVE), which had received several hundred signatures as of Wednesday evening. “Bill Cosby does not deserve to be on the list of distinguished recipients.”
Cosby received the medal in 2002 from President George W. Bush.
Revoking the medal would be unprecedented, according to the White House, but PAVE’s founder, Angela Rose, believes it’s necessary in this case.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor to any American civilian, and Bill Cosby’s name does not belong on it,” Rose told TIME.
The Chicago-based group takes issue with the fact that “Cosby admitted to procuring drugs to have sex with women without their consent,” according to PAVE’s petition.
Sen. Claire McCaskill supports PAVE’s petition. “I don’t think that somebody who has admitted to doing that deserves a medal of any kind,” she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The group’s demand is just the latest twist in the allegations that Cosby repeatedly drugged and raped women, after previously sealed court documents that were released this week showed that Cosby admitted to getting quaaludes to give to women he wanted to seduce.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said he hadn’t heard about PAVE’s petition. “I haven’t, at this point, heard any discussion of taking that step,” he said, according to USA Today. “I don’t know whether or not it’s legally possible to do so.”