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Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad is facing tough opposition in her upcoming latest gig as dean of the Howard University College of Arts after she tweeted support for her former TV husband Bill Cosby in a now-deleted social media post.
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.
— Phylicia Rashad (@PhyliciaRashad) June 30, 2021
“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,” Rashad wrote.
Regardless of Rashad’s second tweet, Howard issued a statement issuing distance between Rashad’s statement and the university’s commitment to honoring survivors.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority. While Dead 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.”
And on social media students and former alumni of the university voiced concern over Rashad’s post as a newly appointed dean.
Phylicia Rashad is a dean of a school at Howard University, an HBCU with more Black women students than men — and she is capping for a man who admitted to drugging women and having sex with them in the process.
Fall semester is about to be a trip…
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) June 30, 2021
phylicia rashad- what are you doing? howard university, please take the job back. pic.twitter.com/Zcg8g3MEPf
— جليا (@jaliaelease) June 30, 2021
Is this how you're going to react when a Howard CoFA student tells you they were assaulted by another student if that student happens to be someone you like and admire?
Because what you're telling Howard women rn is that you don't care if they're raped. https://t.co/cD2miBDGXD
— A Shady Dame From Seville (@SorayaMcDonald) June 30, 2021
For many who grew up watching Rashad and Cosby portray characters who were written to personify a version of Black elegance, Rashad’s comments remind us that it’s important to always separate the actor from the television characters they portray. Rashad’s comments supporting Cosby were a replay of previously reported comments where she attempted to defend Cosby’s legacy during the height of Cosby’s accusations in 2015.
“Forget these women,” Rashad reportedly said. “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.”
Rashad later said that she was misquoted, but the blowback remained.
In the entertainment industry, Janet Hubert, who portrayed another iconic Black woman character as the original “Aunt Viv” character on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” sought to check Rashad over her statement.
I would have said he's old he's out and I'm happy for him, but he still …guilty. I know 5 women who have not come forward. Enough Ya'll we know better. Powerful men do wrong things, black or white…
— Janet Hubert (@OGJanetHubert) June 30, 2021
Hubert also shockingly revealed that she knows five women who have not come forward.
Wednesday’s ruling bars any retrial in the case after Cosby’s conviction was vacated on a technicality.
Cosby was two years into a three-to-10-year prison term for indecent assault against Andrea Constand in 2004 prior to Wednesday’s ruling which bars a retrial after Cosby was released on a technicality.
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