Update 07/03/2021 4:00pm:
Former actress Phylicia Rashad, who is now the dean of Howard University’s Fine Arts College, recently faced backlash after she showed support for Bill Cosby and the overturning of his conviction via Twitter. ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ actress called out Rashad for her take, and Howard University even issued a statement. Now, Rashad has reportedly issued an apology to the students of the University.
Rashad’s letter said, “This week, I tweeted a statement that caused so much hurt in so many people -- both broadly and inside the Howard community. I offer my most sincere apology. I have since removed that upsetting tweet." Rashad also noted that she would be participating in training to “become a stronger ally to sexual assault survivors.” Take a look above.
Original 07/01/2021 3:04pm:
Phylicia Rashad was outspoken in her support of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to overturn Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction. A known supporter of the Cosby, Rashad applauded the court for righting "a terrible wrong."
Following the backlash for offering her support, Rashad tweeted, "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."
However, many continued to criticize Rashad for supporting her former Cosby Show co-star, including Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress Janet Hubert.
"Phylicia, what are you thinking!!!" Hubert tweeted. "I don't know you but to say this was terribly wrong. EVERYONE knew what he was doing back then. How could you NOT! Get your umbrella sista here comes the s*** shower. I am outraged that he had been released. Yes he is an old ass guilty man!"
Hubert posted a follow-up tweet claiming to know five women who were allegedly assaulted by Cosby but did not come forward. She also responded to various users questioning why no one outed Cosby earlier if his alleged crimes were well-known in Hollywood circles.
Rashad, who is an alumna and new dean of Howard University's College of Fine Arts, also had her comments addressed by the university. The college released a statement supporting survivors of sexual assault and distanced itself from Rashad's remarks.
"Survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority," the 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. 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."