After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction Wednesday, his former The Cosby Show co-star Phylicia Rashad posted a statement on Twitter voicing her support for the comedian.
“Finally! A terrible wrong is being righted – a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Rashad tweeted. The backlash was immediate, with social media users and another former TV mom calling her out for supporting the disgraced comic.
Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, replied back to Rashad’s post with a Twitter thread: “Phylicia what are you thinking!!! I don’t know you but to say this was terribly wrong. Everyone knew what he was doing back then. How could you not? Get your umbrella sista here comes the sh– shower. I am outraged that he has been released. Yes he is an old a– guilty man!”
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Hubert’s second tweet added: “I would have said he’s old, he’s out and I’m happy for him, but he’s still …guilty. I know 5 women who have not come forward. Enough y’all we know better. Powerful men do wrong things, Black or white.”
A few hours after her original post, Rashad clarified her comments by tweeting: “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.”
As previously reported, Rashad begins her position today as dean of Howard University’s newly reestablished College of Fine Arts. After Rashad posted her original tweet, Howard chimed in to say it would always support survivors of sexual assault.
The HBCU’s statement read: “Survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority. 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. Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies. 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.”
— Howard University (@HowardU) July 1, 2021