Howard University says Dean of Fine Arts Phylicia Rashad's tweet in support of Bill Cosby 'lacked sensitivity'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3-min read
Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad co-star in a 1984 episode of The Cosby Show.
Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad co-star in a 1984 episode of The Cosby Show. (Photo: NBC/Everett Collection)

Phylicia Rashad's support of Bill Cosby as he was released from prison Wednesday (in an apparently now-deleted tweet, screenshot below) was roundly criticized — despite a follow-up post about how she "fully" supports survivors of sexual assault — and it showed no signs of stopping the following day.

A screenshot of Phylicia Rashad's controversial, now-deleted tweet. (Instagram)
A screenshot of Phylicia Rashad's controversial, now-deleted tweet. (Instagram)

Many people pointed out that, in her new position as dean of Howard University's Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, she'd be one of the people students would turn in the case of a sexual assault. Her position was scheduled to start on July 1.

The university's official social media accounts addressed the situation roughly nine hours after Rashad's first message. The Howard statement said that, "her initial tweet lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault." Officials vowed to "continue to advocate for survivors fully and support their right to be heard." 

They did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment's request for further comment.

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Janet Hubert, the actress who originally played Aunt Viv on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, was among those who called Rashad out. 

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Others demanded that she be cut from the upcoming season of NBC family drama This Is Us, in which she plays the mother of Susan Kelechi Watson's character, Beth.

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All of this happened in the wake of Cosby's unexpected release from prison, where he had been since his 2018 sexual assault conviction. Although about 60 women have accused him of sexual misconduct, in many cases after allegedly drugging them, Cosby was released on a legal technicality in the case of Andrea Constand. He's always maintained his innocence, and he continued to do so once he was free.

His accusers were "disgusted."

Actress Phylicia Rashad has co-starred with Bill Cosby in several projects. (Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Actress Phylicia Rashad has co-starred with Bill Cosby in several projects. (Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Rashad and Cosby have worked together several times over the years. In addition to playing lawyer Clair Huxtable on the groundbreaking sitcom The Cosby Show, Rashad co-starred with Cosby on late ’90s sitcom Cosby, where she again played his wife; voiced a character in Cosby's animated Little Bill, from 1999 to 2004; and popped up on The Cosby Mysteries in 1994.

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