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Obama on Cosby: 'This country, and any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape'

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President Obama weighed in on the mounting sexual assault accusations against Bill Cosby on Tuesday.

When asked whether he would consider revoking the comedian's Presidential Medal of Freedom, Obama said there was no mechanism for doing so, and while he would not comment on specific accusations, he said that giving drugs to another person in order to have sex amounts to rape.

"If you give a woman, or a man, for that matter, without his or her knowledge a drug and then have sex with them, that's rape," Obama said at the White House in response to a question about Cosby during a press briefing on the Iran nuclear deal. "This country, and any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape."

Obama's comments come on the heels of Cosby's admission that he gave Quaaludes to at least one woman he wanted to have sex with — a revelation in a 2005 deposition that was unsealed last week.

The entertainer's attorneys fought to keep his testimony secret, but U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno granted a request by the Associated Press to unseal the deposition, saying Cosby is a public figure whose comments about moral issues, combined with the serious allegations against him, put the release of testimony in the public interest.

After the admission was made public, a rape survivor advocacy group launched a petition on the White House website asking the administration to revoke Cosby's Medal of Freedom. As of Wednesday morning, it had 10,000 signatures.

The 77-year-old comedian has been accused of sexual assault by more than two dozen women, including many who say he drugged and raped them in strikingly similar encounters over a four-decade span.

Lawyers for Cosby have denied the allegations, and he has never been criminally charged.

Judd Apatow, one of Cosby's most vocal critics in Hollywood, said we shouldn't need him to admit guilt to believe his alleged victims.

"I don't think there is anything new here," Apatow said of Cosby's admission. "It is only new to people who didn't believe an enormous amount of women who stated clearly that he drugged them."

But several of the alleged victims said Cosby's admission amounts to corroboration of their allegations.

Janice Dickinson, who alleges that Cosby violated her in 1982, said she feels "validated."

"It shows that he and all his people knew all along that we were telling the truth," Dickinson told People magazine.

Singer Jill Scott, who defended Cosby last year, said the revelation was a turning point.

"About Bill Cosby," Scott wrote to her Twitter followers. "Sadly his own testimony offers PROOF of terrible deeds, which is ALL I have ever required to believe the accusations."

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Whoopi Goldberg, who has been a staunch supporter of Cosby, abruptly reversed course on Tuesday, saying she can no longer say "innocent until proven guilty."

"If this is to be tried in the court of public opinion, I got to say all of the information that's out there kind of points to guilt," Goldberg said on "The View." "It looks bad, Bill."

Some of Cosby's longtime associates, though, had already distanced themselves from the embattled entertainer. Last year, Nickelodeon pulled reruns of "The Cosby Show," NBC cut ties with him and Netflix scrapped a planned Cosby standup special.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Creative Artists Agency, which had long represented Cosby, quietly dropped him earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department said last week that it is conducting at least one current criminal investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Cosby.

The LAPD told NPR that the investigation "may have multiple accusations" but would not offer more details because the case is ongoing.