Moments after word broke that Cosby’s sex assault conviction is being overturned by the court, his former TV wife took to Twitter to share her delight in the news.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Rashad tweeted, along with a photo of Cosby.
Rashad played Cosby’s sitcom wife, Clair Huxtable, for all eight seasons on “The Cosby Show” from 1984 through 1992.
In the past, Rashad has supported Cosby, despite the numerous allegations from dozens of women who accused the comedian of drugging and raping them for years. Rashad has gotten heat in the past for speaking about the legacy of “The Cosby Show,” rather than focusing on the women.
UPDATE: A few hours later, Rashad responded to the outpouring of online dismay to her original tweet with a followup writing, “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.”
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
On Wednesday evening, Howard University, where Rashad was recently appointed the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, issued a statement.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our 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,” the statement reads. “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.”
— Howard University (@HowardU) July 1, 2021
Cosby’s sexual assault conviction was overturned on Wednesday with Pennsylvania’s highest court ruling that Cosby’s agreement with a prosecutor in 2005 should have prevented him from being charged again.
Cosby was charged in 2015, and sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for raping Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004. He was arrested just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired on newly unsealed evidence. At his first trial in 2017, a judge at first allowed only one other accuser to testify, and the jury was not able to reach a verdict, but then, five more accusers were allowed to testify about similar allegations at the 2018 retrial, resulting in Cosby’s conviction on April 26, 2018. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, however, that the testimony at the trial was tainted, even though a lower court found that he showed a pattern of drugging and molesting women.
Rashad’s reaction is far different than most of Hollywood. Moments after the shocking news broke, actors like Ellen Barkin, Debra Messing and Amber Tamblyn tweeted their disgust in the justice system and stated that they stand in solidarity with the survivors who were assaulted by Cosby.
Rosie O’Donnell tweeted in all caps, “I guess 70 women weren’t enough.”
— ROSIE (@Rosie) June 30, 2021
Barkin wrote, “Reap what you sow.”
— Ellen Barkin (@EllenBarkin) June 30, 2021
Tamblyn — who has been a fierce supporter of Harvey Weinstein survivors and has publicly spoken out against the fallen producer and convicted rapist — posted about Cosby on Wednesday. “I am furious to hear this news,” Tamblyn tweeted. “I personally know women who this man drugged and raped while unconscious. Shame on the court and this decision.” She also tweeted about cancel culture, the #MeToo era and the justice system.
I don't want to hear anything about how cancel culture ruined men's lives during the MeToo era reckoning for women and survivors. How we went too far. Today's news that Cosby's conviction is being overturned is proof we haven't gone far enough. Our justice system MUST change.
— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) June 30, 2021
“Will & Grace” star, Messing, also posted on Twitter. “To every woman who was sexual assaulted by Bill Cosby my heart hurts for you today and I am full fury. It’s horrifying.”
To every woman who was sexual assaulted by #BillCosby my heart hurts for you today and I am full fury. It’s horrifying.
— Debra Messing✍🏻 (@DebraMessing) June 30, 2021
Kid Cudi rebuked those showing support for Cosby online writing, “People that are celebrating Bill Cosby being released are fuckin idiots.”
People that are celebrating Bill Cosby being released are fuckin idiots.
— The Chosen One (@KidCudi) June 30, 2021
Social justice activist, author and actor Rose McGowan — one of the first women to blow the lid on the truth about Weinstein — tweeted about Cosby, standing with the accusers.
I stand with all of Bill Cosby’s accusers on this dark day.
— Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) June 30, 2021
My heart breaks today for all survivors & especially for those souls who survived monstrous abuse from Bill Cosby. To the warriors who were brave enough to come forward, thank you. Please know you are not alone. You did not share your truth for nothing. We stand with you all ❤️🙏🏾
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) July 1, 2021
Dylan Farrow penned a statement regarding Cosby’s release, as well as the news that James Franco had settled his sexual misconduct case for $2.2 million.
“The fact that Bill Cosby, after being accused by 60 brave women, could have his conviction overturned by a technicality, and that James Franco could settle for millions of dollars as ‘compensation’ for the lifetime of trauma he inflicted is a travesty,” Farrow wrote. “It is a perfect example of how not just our society, but our justice system, continually fails survivors of sexual assault.”
Regarding Cosby, Franco, and all of the perpetrators who won’t face justice pic.twitter.com/338cKuyGjt
— Dylan Farrow (@RealDylanFarrow) June 30, 2021
In a since-deleted Instagram captured with a screenshot, Timbaland posted an old Cosby advertisement with the caption, “Who’s wants a jello pudding pop I’m home now.”
However, a few positive tweets in support of Cosby have surfaced in Hollywood. Comedian Lil Duval tweeted, “Bill Cosby about to be free! City boy win summer 2021!”
Bill Cosby about to be free! City boy win summer 2021! pic.twitter.com/UR0oUPzopH
— lil duval (@lilduval) June 30, 2021
Ice T quickly deleted his Cosby tweet, which Variety captured with a screenshot. The rapper and actor tweeted, “Oh shit Bill Cosby might be touch back down on the bricks….Hot Boy Summer.”