'I Fully Support Survivors Of Sexual Assault Coming Forward': Phylicia Rashad Backtracks After Celebrating Bill Cosby's Prison Release
Phylicia Rashad is backtracking after her celebratory tweet about Bill Cosby being freed from prison caused major backlash.
After news broke that her former Cosby Show costar's sexual assault conviction was being overturned on Wednesday, June 30, the actress took to social media to post a photo of the 83-year-old that she captioned, "FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted— a miscarriage of justice is corrected!"
However, Rashad walked back her previous statement after her post caused many to criticize her controversial stance. "I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing," the 73-year-old clarified.
However, not all was forgiven.
"You cannot support victims of sexual abuse and support and a predator who admitted his crimes. He cannot be jailed due to technicalities, but he is a criminal, by his own account, and he is not willing to admit that what he did is wrong," one user responded.
"This tweet doesn’t mean anything at all with the previous one still up. Absolutely nothing," another wrote.
"Unless the perpetrator is your friend, right?" a third user quipped.
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The news of Cosby's release came when the court revealed that they found an agreement with a previous prosecutor that prevented him from being charged in the case. The new ruling reportedly also bars a retrial, according to court documents.
In 2018, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault and convicted of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004. He served almost three years of a three to ten-year sentence. More than 60 women in total have made allegations of a sexual nature against Cosby, which he denied.
Cosby later broke his silence on the matter and posted a statement on Twitter. "I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence.Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law. #BillCosby," he wrote.
Rashad played Clair Huxtable — the wife of Cosby's character, Cliff Huxtable — in The Cosby Show.
In May, it was announced that Rashad was appointed as dean of Howard University's Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, beginning on July 1.
Howard University acknowledged Rashad's tweets in a statement: "While Dean Rashad has acknowledged in her follow-up tweet that victims must be heard and believed, her initial tweet lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault."
"We will continue to advocate for survivors fully and support their right to be heard. Howard will stand with survivors and challenge systems that would deny them justice. We have full confidence that our faculty and school leadership will live up to this sacred commitment," the statement concluded.