Howard University says Dean of Fine Arts Phylicia Rashad's tweet in support of Bill Cosby 'lacked sensitivity'
Phylicia Rashad's support of Bill Cosby as he was released from prison Wednesday (in an apparently now-deleted tweet, screenshot below) was roundly criticized — despite a follow-up post about how she "fully" supports survivors of sexual assault — and it showed no signs of stopping the following day.
Many people pointed out that, in her new position as dean of Howard University's Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, she'd be one of the people students would turn in the case of a sexual assault. Her position was scheduled to start on July 1.
The university's official social media accounts addressed the situation roughly nine hours after Rashad's first message. The Howard statement said that, "her initial tweet lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault." Officials vowed to "continue to advocate for survivors fully and support their right to be heard."
They did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment's request for further comment.
— Howard University (@HowardU) July 1, 2021
Janet Hubert, the actress who originally played Aunt Viv on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, was among those who called Rashad out.
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 shit shower. I am outraged that he has been released. Yes he is an old ass guilty man! pic.twitter.com/9mHtuEYLgk
— Janet Hubert (@OGJanetHubert) June 30, 2021
Others demanded that she be cut from the upcoming season of NBC family drama This Is Us, in which she plays the mother of Susan Kelechi Watson's character, Beth.
I hope 🗑 Phylicia Rashad gets kicked off this is us through a text message later on today. Raggedy.
— a sophia patrillo stan account (@Cheri_Angela) June 30, 2021
. @NBCThisisUs, time to send Beth’s mother, played by rapist supporter/rape denier Phylicia Rashad, needs to go on a permanent vacation. I will stop watching #ThisIsUs as long as Rashad is in the cast. #FirePhyliciaRashad
— Nikki Busch Editor (@NikkiBuschEdit) June 30, 2021
It’s going to be difficult to watch “This Is Us” and see Phylicia Rashad and not think about how she dismissed the trauma experienced by dozens of women at the hands of Bill Cosby.
— Johnny Smith (@SportsHistProf) June 30, 2021
The funny thing is, Phylicia Rashad is doing all of this caping for Bill Cosby and she’s going to be the one seeing all of her bags stop. Best believe she won’t be back on #ThisIsUs and Howard will find a way to “move on” before the fall semester begins.
— kevikev (@KevCoke6) June 30, 2021
All of this happened in the wake of Cosby's unexpected release from prison, where he had been since his 2018 sexual assault conviction. Although about 60 women have accused him of sexual misconduct, in many cases after allegedly drugging them, Cosby was released on a legal technicality in the case of Andrea Constand. He's always maintained his innocence, and he continued to do so once he was free.
His accusers were "disgusted."
Rashad and Cosby have worked together several times over the years. In addition to playing lawyer Clair Huxtable on the groundbreaking sitcom The Cosby Show, Rashad co-starred with Cosby on late ’90s sitcom Cosby, where she again played his wife; voiced a character in Cosby's animated Little Bill, from 1999 to 2004; and popped up on The Cosby Mysteries in 1994.
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