Family ties are tough to loosen, as Phylicia Rashad, the former television wife of Bill Cosby, showed Wednesday afternoon.
Rashad said that “a miscarriage of justice is corrected” for Cosby, whose sexual assault conviction was overturned on Wednesday.
Cosby, who played Cliff Huxtable on the popular ‘80s and ‘90s sitcom, The Cosby Show, will be released from prison following a decision made Wednesday by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In 2018, Cosby was convicted on three counts of felony sexual assault and sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. Before Wednesday, he had served more than two years.
Cosby was the first celebrity tried and convicted during the #MeToo era, which brought awareness to ravaging issues with sexual assault within the entertainment industry and corporate America. By 2018, 60 women had accused Cosby of assault.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” tweeted Rashad, who played Cosby’s counterpart, Clair Huxtable.
Rashad is also the newly minted fine arts dean at Howard University, her alma mater.
Since Rashad’s tweet on Wednesday afternoon, there have been calls for her resignation—or removal—from her new post at Howard. The population of the private HBCU in Washington, D.C. is nearly two-thirds women.
The university did not respond to requests for comment.
This isn’t the first time Rashad has come to Cosby’s defense or been dismissive about his sexual assault allegations.
“This is not about the women. This is about something else,” Rashad said during a 2015 interview with ABC. “This is about the obliteration of legacy.”
Her tune didn’t change in an October 2020 interview with Bustle, a women’s magazine. “It’s almost too heartbreaking to accept Rashad’s continued dismissal of Cosby’s accusers — she is, after all, a modern Black queen,” her interviewer Rebecca Carroll writes.
This also isn’t the first time Howard University has been under fire for sexual-assault-related issues.
A suit filed by five female Howard students in 2017 alleged that the university had failed to “swifty handle sexual assault reports” and that the school refused to provide help to a rape victim who was suicidal. And in June 2020, Howard students and alumni rallied around a “Black Survivors Healing Fund” GoFundMe page aimed at raising funds to support sexual assault survivors.
“There is no amount of money that can take away the pain of sexual violence, the pain of having your power taken away and your societal marginalization(s) exploited,” the GoFundMe page reads. “However, we hope that by distributing these funds, we can aid survivors in taking crucial steps towards healing.”
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