Bill Cosby’s longtime co-star Phylicia Rashad received a wave of backlash online on Wednesday (June 30) after tweeting in support of his release from prison just moments after news of his release broke.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted –– a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Rashad wrote in a tweet. The actress was accused of being dismissive of what Cosby’s release could mean for survivors of sexual assault, something that he admitted to doing on several occasions. His conviction was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on a legal technicality, not that the high court found him to be innocent.
Twitter erupted, reacting to the news of Cosby’s release and Rashad’s stance on the situation at the same time.
In response to the backlash, Rashad wrote a follow-up tweet, insisting that she supports survivors. “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward,” the actress wrote. “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.”
Some also called for Howard University to release a statement on Rashad’s comments, as she was recently appointed dean of the school’s College of Fine Arts.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority,” Howard University said in a statement. “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 continued.
“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.”
Twitter users commented on the University’s approach to the situation.
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