Rashad was on the receiving end of tremendous backlash from the public when she posted this tweet in support of her former co-star on “The Cosby Show” on Wednesday, June 30, 2021:
Cosby, 83, was let out of the State Correctional Institution – Phoenix outside of Philadelphia on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated his conviction due to a technicality. Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor had agreed not to prosecute Cosby in 2005 in exchange for his testimony in which he admitted using Quaaludes to render women incapacitated and then assault them sexually.
Therefore, most people do not see Cosby’s release as being exonerated from a crime that he admitted to, and they were vociferous in articulating their disgust with Rashad’s tweet.
Rashad felt the ferocity of the public’s outcry and posted this message three hours after her first one on Wednesday:
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
Rashad’s contrition was woefully insufficient for many people. Some also pointed out Rashad’s support for Cosby in light of her recent appointment as dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts.
“The level of disgust I have right now is overwhelming,” one user tweeted, according to the New York Post‘s “Page Six” column. “Right now there is a Howard Fine Arts student who has spent the entire summer trying to decide whether to file a complaint on their rapist when they return to campus and they see this from their new dean. #BillCosbyIsARapist”
You told 60 survivors of sexual assault that their pain didn’t matter by cheering the fact that their attacker was freed on a technicality. You chose to add to their pain today. That’s not support or wishing them healing.
— Thee Nikki 💛🐝 (@NikkiBrinksCO) June 30, 2021
You are truly, sincerely, a disgrace. pic.twitter.com/R4H68n5PGt
— chris evans (@chris_notcapn) July 1, 2021
There were plenty of Rashad backers, to be sure. Some mentioned that the public’s anger is misdirected at Rashad when it should be with the court system.
Ppl can be so unforgiving. I applaud you @PhyliciaRashad 👏. You've known Mr. Cosby for so long. I to have only seen the good that Cosby has done so I'm glad he's free as well. I'm a victim of rape. If I can forgive that person, THEN SO CAN ANYONE ELSE!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
— Jennifer Whitfield (@Jennife95695249) July 1, 2021
She supports following the law! They were so eager to come after him even though they knew they couldn’t. The prosecutor is not above the law. He should have followed it. Period!
— Exquisitely ME (@enjlyfe) July 1, 2021