Phylicia Rashad has been one of Bill Cosby’s most loyal supporters since his sexual assault charges appeared. The actress recently shared her reaction to Bill’s sentence being overturned, and fans are upset.
Phylicia Rashad and Bill Cosby go way back. The pair played husband and wife Cliff and Clair Huxtable on their hit sitcom ‘The Cosby Show’ for more than a decade and remained friends long after the show’s finale.
As a result, Rashad has been outspoken about her disbelief of the sexual abuse allegations made against him. The actress even shared a celebratory social media post upon learning about his release from prison.
Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad at the 2nd annual Legacy to Promise Gala, September 2011 | Source: Getty Images
In 2015, a media storm circulated several sexual assault allegations against the actor, Bill Cosby. Some of the women who spoke out had been seeking justice against the ‘Cosby Show’ star for a decade before it made headlines.
Soon after multiple women made the claims against Cosby, his on-screen wife came to his defense, claiming the allegations were orchestrated. However, Cosby was eventually convicted on three felony charges in 2018.
Cosby’s aggravated indecent assault charges landed him with a sentence of three to ten years in prison. The eighty-three-year-old served almost three years of the sentence before the charges were overturned.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that Cosby was denied protection against self-incrimination before releasing him. This decision angered many fans, who then noticed Rashad's celebrations.
The former Mrs. Huxtable shared her stance to the news on social media, claiming that justice had been corrected. Unfortunately for her, several social media users disagreed with the tweet that supported Cosby.
One Twitter user was so disappointed in Rashad's stance that they called her a ‘disgrace’ in her comments. Another Twitter user encouraged the social media dragging of Rashad as a consequence of her support:
“That kind of arrogance paired with unspeakable ignorance mixed with the moral compass of mother who could eat her own children earns her a proper Twitter dragging.”
Fellow sitcom wife Janet Hubert from ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ also chimed in on Phylicia’s post. Hubert condemned Rashad for supporting Bill Cosby, calling him an old and guilty man after expressing her outrage.
The negative response to Phylicia’s posts eventually resulted in her making a follow-up statement. In the statement, she expresses her support for sexual assault victims and tries to explain her previous message didn’t mean otherwise:
“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.”
However, Phylicia’s follow-up tweet was also not received well by the public, despite its attempt to redeem her. Instead, Twitter users called the actor out on the numerous times she has stood up for Bill Cosby.
Over the past few years, Phylicia has been outspoken about retaining Bill’s legacy, despite the allegations. The actress often made mention of Cosby in a good light instead of addressing the claims.
This time, fans and critics had enough and flooded Phylicia’s comments with disapproval. Many of those who spoke out against her second post accused the actress of being a rape apologist for many years.
In addition to being an actor, Phylicia Rashad is also Howard University’s Dean of the College of Arts. Consequently, the university stepped in to acknowledge and denounce the Dean’s message applauding Cosby’s release.
In its statement, the university assures the public that survivors of assault are a priority to them. However, the university, which has a history of being sued for not responding reasonably to sexual assault claims, wasn’t received well.