A “terrible wrong is being righted,” Phylicia Rashad tweeted following Bill Cosby’s controversial release from Pennsylvania prison on Wednesday. Her comments prompted a response from her employer Howard University and Cosby himself.
The university issued a statement Wednesday, saying it prioritizes and supports sexual assault survivors. The university also said personal statements from Howard staff don’t reflect its policies.
In May, Howard University hired Rashad, who played Cosby’s wife on “The Cosby Show,” as dean of the recently re-established College of Fine Arts. July 1 was Rashad’s first day on the job. After the backlash, Rashad wrote she supports sexual assault survivors and didn’t mean to be insensitive.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our first priority,” the university’s statement read. “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.”
In response, Cosby expressed his support for Rashad in a July 4 statement to USA TODAY, released by his spokesperson Andrew Wyatt, adding that Howard University “must support ones Freedom of Speech (Ms. Rashad, which is taught or suppose to be taught everyday at that renowned law school, which resides on your campus.”
Cosby’s statement also criticized “mainstream media,” calling them “the Insurrectionists, who stormed the Capitol,” referencing the Jan. 6 attack. “These same Media Insurrectionists are trying to demolish the Constitution of these United States of America on this Independence Day,” it read.
The statement concluded by claiming that his conviction wasn’t overturned on a “technicality.”
“NO TECHNICALITY — IT’S A VIOLATION OF ONES RIGHTS & WE THE PEOPLE STAND IN SUPPORT OF MS. PHYLICIA RASHAD.”