Whoopi Goldberg has fired back at critics who attacked her for declaring embattled comedian Bill Cosby remains "innocent until proven guilty" amid the ongoing sex assault scandal, insisting online threats will not change her opinion.
The Cosby Show star has been fighting decades-old accusations of rape and inappropriate behaviour from more than 30 women over the past 10 months, and on Monday, newly-unsealed court documents, relating to a 2005 sex lawsuit, revealed the funnyman had admitted, under oath, to obtaining drugs with the intent of giving them to ladies he wanted to sleep with.
The revelations sparked a new backlash against the actor, but Goldberg has decided to continue standing by the Hollywood veteran, telling viewers of her US talk show The View, "I don't like snap judgements, because I've had snap judgements made on me... In America, still... you actually are innocent until proven guilty. He has not been proven (guilty)..."
Her comments infuriated some fans, who turned on Goldberg and lambasted her on social media, while others went to extremes and threatened to kidnap her family.
However, the Oscar winner is refusing to back down and on Wednesday's episode of The View, she bluntly told critics to "back off".
She said, "People have been coming after me, saying they're gonna snatch my family... It's like being Frankenstein, people coming after you with the fire and they're gonna burn you. Well, here's the deal: this is The View and that was my opinion, and not any of you threatening me or telling me you're coming after me because you don't like what I said, is gonna change the fact that no one has convicted him, he has not been arrested, and the bottom line is that's the law: innocent until proven guilty."
Goldberg then urged caution when dealing with such sensitive subjects, stating: "I think we all... have a very important role to play when it comes to abuse and rape. We all have to demand that if it's true, the person is taken to the Nth degree of the world and punished.
"No one here thinks rape is good. No one here thinks rape is fun. Nobody here... hates women or any of that, so don't come after me like that 'cause I'm sick of this bull (sic)... For me, it's my opinion, and the American courts agree with me because still, he has not been taken to jail or tried for anything, so back off me!"
Cosby is currently facing a number of defamation lawsuits after his lawyers dismissed a handful of alleged victims as "liars", but he has never been hit with any criminal charges over the rape accusations.