Bill Cosby

Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

Bill Cosby was asked directly by an NPR journalist about allegations of sexual assault as the 77-year-old comedian and actor continues to face a backlash over the matter, which resurfaced last month.

The star of the hit '80s sitcom The Cosby Show has never faced criminal charges over the allegations and has not commented about them, including recently, when asked by E! News. In October, comedian Hannibal Buress brought them up and called the actor a rapistSnarky posts on Twitter followed, as did a recent op-ed by one of his accusers.

Cosby talked to journalist Scott Simon in an an interview on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. The comedian and actor is promoting a collection of African art pieces that he and wife Camille have lent to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

"This question gives me no pleasure, Mr. Cosby. But there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days," Simon says. [Silence] "You're shaking your head, 'No.'"

"I'm in the news business, I have to ask the question, do you have any response to those charges?" he asks. [Silence] "You're shaking your head, 'No.'"

"There are people who love you who might like to hear from you about this," he adds. "I want to give you the chance."

Cosby again declines comment.

Listen to the segment below. 

Simon later tweeted about the interview.

"I said 'It gives me no pleasure, but I have to ask' because Mrs. Cosby [was] there & because Bill is so beloved. But I still asked," he said, adding, "He began to shake his head as soon as I began the sentence. We both—we all—knew what I was talking about."

His interview was recorded last week and posted days after one of his accusers penned an op-ed in The Washington Post, in which she claimed the actor befriended her when she was a "17-year-old aspiring actress in 1985" and sexually assaulted her several times.

Meanwhile, a scheduled appearance by the actor on The Late Show With David Letterman that was set to take place on Wednesday has been canceled amid the controversy, the New York Times reported, adding that a spokesperson declined to say who made the decision. Regis Philbin will take his place on David Letterman's couch.

Last month, a guest appearance by Cosby on The Queen Latifah Show was canceled as well, at his request, The New York Times reported.

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