Phylicia Rashad defended by former co-star, Bill Cosby, for celebrating his release from prison
When popular actress and Howard University dean, Phylicia Rashad, appeared to support a former co-star who has been accused of raping and harassing multiple women, social media users were quick to censure Rashad, according to BBC News.
Rashad found herself in hot water after tweeting her support of former co-star Bill Cosby.
When the 83-year-old disgraced comedian's sexual assault conviction was overturned and he was released from prison in late June, Rashad tweeted, "Finally. A terrible wrong is being righted - a miscarriage of justice is corrected."
Cosby and Rashad developed a bond during the eight seasons that the two played husband and wife on The Cosby Show.
But in 2014, multiple women came forward claiming that Cosby had sexually assaulted them between 1965-2008, and a number of the alleged incidents exceeded the statute of limitations.
However, in 2018, Cosby was found guilty of drugging and molesting ex-basketball player Andrea Constand.
After serving more than two years in jail, he was released on Wednesday, June 30 when judges ruled that a "process violation" by the prosecution had taken place.
Shortly after Rashad took to Twitter to celebrate her former co-star's release and was severely criticized, she deleted the controversial tweet and posted that she "fully supported sexual abuse survivors coming forward."
After this, Howard University, the Washington D.C.-based institution where Rashad serves as dean of fine arts appeared to join in public criticism of the actress by issuing the following statement:
"Survivors of sexual assault will always be our first 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."
After this, Cosby shot back by issuing the following statement:
"Howard University you must support ones Freedom of Speech (Ms Rashad), which is taught or suppose to be taught everyday at that renowned law school, which resides on your campus."
Cosby compared the media to those who stormed the US Capitol in January, and claimed that his conviction was not overturned on a "technicality."
"Those same media insurrectionists are trying to demolish the constitution of these United State of America on this Independence Day," Cosby wrote. "No technicality - it's a violation of one's rights and we the people stand in support of Ms. Phylicia Rashad."
According to CNN, Rashad issued a letter to Howard University's students and parents, offering a "most sincere apology."
In the letter, Rashad reportedly said that she intends "to engage in active listening and participate in trainings to not only reinforce university protocol and conduct, but also to learn how I can become a stronger ally to sexual assault survivors and everyone who has suffered at the hands of an abuser."