On June 30, 2021, actress Phylicia Rashad, who played Bill Cosby's TV wife Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, celebrated when it was announced that the court had overturned his sexual assault conviction and that Cosby was being released from prison. While most people were horrified by the news, Rashad took to Twitter and wrote, "FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted - a miscarriage of justice is corrected!"
"Why are you choosing not to believe these women?" someone tweeted at Rashad, who had changed her Twitter settings, so only those she follows can reply to that tweet. Another wrote, "Total BS #PhyliciaRashad - Bill admitted drugging women, then having sex. To get off on a technicality is NOT RIGHTING A WRONG. Shame on you!"
After receiving backlash, Rashad tweeted again, saying she "supported" the sexual assault victims. She wrote, "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." This, too, received a fair amount of backlash, considering she supports the man who allegedly sexually assaulted these people.
What other things has Phylicia Rashad said about Bill Cosby?
Phylicia Rashad has always supported and stood up for Bill Cosby. When his victims first started speaking up about their experiences and the allegations came to light, Rashad was one of the first to defend him. In 2015, she told the press (a couple of times) that these accusations were destroying Cosby's "legacy," and she felt that the allegations were "orchestrated" to ruin his career. She described Cosby as "a genius, generous, kind, and inclusive."
In 2015, she exclusively told ABC News, “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. This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family. And now you’re seeing it being destroyed. Why?”
The interview was initially published with her telling the reporter, "Forget these women," but this was later taken out, as that comment was allegedly taken out of context. Rashad clarified to ABC, saying, “I am a woman. I would never say that. That was a misquote. That is not what I said. What I said is this is not about the women — this is about something else. This is about the obliteration of a legacy.”
In a 2019 interview with Variety, Rashad refrained from discussing Cosby's legacy, but she did fondly recall working with him. Rashad said, “[Cosby said] 'I want you to take the time to look at me and trust the audience will be with you.' When we were taping the pilot episode, Mr. Cosby said one thing to the entire cast; he said, ‘Don’t try to be funny. Just tell the story.'”
Most recently, in 2020, Rashad was interviewed by Bustle, who asked what she thought about people who feel they can no longer watch The Cosby Show. Rashad replied, “I don't know why anybody would feel that way. I just don’t accept what somebody says because they say it, and they say it in a loud voice. The internet has given a lot of anonymous people a very loud voice."
Cosby only served three of the three- to 10-year sentence in a maximum-security prison near Philadelphia. Recently, according to the New York Times, the court ruled that a "non-prosecution agreement" concluded that Cosby shouldn't have been charged. It seems that, essentially, Cosby was released on a technicality. The 83-year-old returned to his home in the Philadelphia suburbs on June 30.