Former Cosby Show costar Phylicia Rashad, now a Howard University dean, has modified her gleeful reaction to news of Bill Cosby’s release from prison. But not before drawing criticism from her new academic colleagues.
Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison in 2018 for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. He was released Wednesday after that conviction was overturned by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court over a decades-old immunity agreement.
Rashad, who played Cosby’s wife Clair Huxtable on the hit series, sent out a celebratory tweet on Wednesday when news arrived of Cosby’s freedom.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” she tweeted with a photo of the 83-year-old comedian.
She later walked back those comments somewhat, saying she “fully support[s] 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,” she tweeted.
Howard University, where Rashad is the incoming College of Fine Arts dean, issued its own statement today to say Rashad’s tweet “lacked sensitivity” toward sexual abuse survivors.
“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,” Howard said. “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.”