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Oh, Phylicia Rashad Wants Us to Forget She Celebrated Bill Cosby’s Release

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Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad, believing that we all have the memory span of a goldfish, is attempting to walk back comments she made about Bill Cosby’s overturned sexual-assault verdict. In a tweet posted on June 30, the actress wrote that “a terrible wrong is being righted; a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” about Cosby’s release from prison, adding, in all caps, “FINALLY!!!!” Rashad, who recently started a tenure as a dean at Howard University, issued a follow-up tweet hours later, where she acknowledged the dozens of women who accused Cosby of sexual assault. “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth,” she wrote. “Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.” Howard University snowballed with its own statement soon thereafter, saying that while Rashad’s tweet “lacked sensitivity” toward Cosby’s survivors, “personal positions of university leadership do not reflect Howard’s policies.”

Rashad and Cosby have shared a friendship since the 1980s; they’ve played husband and wife on two television shows, The Cosby Show and Cosby. In 2015, Rashad said in an interview with Showbiz 411 that she was skeptical of the vast number of sexual-assault allegations being lodged against Cosby. “Forget these women,” she explained. “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.” However, Rashad later claimed the outlet misquoted her words and insisted that “this is about something else. This is about the obliteration of legacy.”

Updated on July 3: On Friday, July 2, Phylicia Rashad sent an apology letter to Howard University students and parents after sharing (and later deleting) a tweet celebrating Bill Cosby’s release from prison for sexual assault. According to CNN, the letter reads: “My remarks were in no way directed towards survivors of sexual assault. I vehemently oppose sexual violence, find no excuse for such behavior, and I know that Howard University has a zero-tolerance policy toward interpersonal violence,” and that she plans “to engage in active listening and participate in trainings to not only reinforce University protocol and conduct, but also to learn how I can become a stronger ally to sexual assault survivors and everyone who has suffered at the hands of an abuser.”

Phylicia Rashad Walks Back Celebratory Bill Cosby Tweet