Former Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad has praised Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction being overturned, allowing him to walk free from his three to 10-year prison sentence.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted – a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” she tweeted on Wednesday, sharing a photo of her former co-star.
Only three hours later, however, Rashad attempted to respond to the cosmic backlash that her initial post had received.
“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth,” she tweeted later. “Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
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Recently named as dean of Howard University’s Fine Arts department, Rashad has supported the disgraced 83-year-old comedian since he was charged for allegedly drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004.
“Phylicia has never wavered in her support of Bill and she’s said she’ll be available for whatever he might need, whenever he might need it,” a source close to the actress told Page Six in 2017.
The Twittersphere immediately took aim at her defence of Cosby. The actress kept comments turned off on her original tweet.
.@PhyliciaRashad approximately SIXTY women accused him of rape. Your tweet was abhorrent.
— Kimberley Johnson (@AuthorKimberley) June 30, 2021
Phylicia Rashad’s first wedding had OJ Simpson and Cosby as “Best Man”. Take that for what it’s worth. pic.twitter.com/yo9tBVFsKh
— Utah Girl Chronicles 🌼🌺🦋💐🖌️☮️🌊 Support Writers (@buddywriterdude) June 30, 2021
“I’m sure Phylicia Rashad being the new dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts will have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on how that program handles student claims of sexual harassment and assault,” tweeted another. “Yep, nothing to see here, folks. Shut up and dance.”
“It will forever amaze (infuriate) me how ppl will defend despicable humans bc I guess it’s easier than coming to terms with the fact you worked so closely with a predator for years,” wrote pro-wrestler Allysin Kay.
Rashad, 73, played Claire Huxtable in The Cosby Show, a series loosely based on Bill and real-life wife Camille’s life. From 1996 to 2000, Rashad again starred as Cosby’s fictional wife, Ruth Lucas, in Cosby.
The charges were filed against Cosby, who was once celebrated as ‘America’s Dad,’ in late 2015 – just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired. He was convicted in 2018 at his second trial, after a first trial ended in a hung jury.
Cosby had served more than two years of his sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia when Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned his conviction after it found that an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented Cosby from being charged for the alleged crimes against Constand.
The ruling bars any retrial in the case, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Cosby refused to offer any remorse over the encounter with the Temple University employee, vowing instead to serve all 10 years of the sentence.
This story originally appeared on Page Six and is republished here with permission
Originally published as Cosby co-star’s ‘abhorrent’ tweet slammed