- Howard University condemned Rashad’s supportive tweet of Cosby.
- She is an alumnus and dean of its Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
- “Her initial tweet lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault,” the statement read.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Phylicia Rashad is receiving backlash beyond social media for her supportive tweet of Bill Cosby after his sexual assault conviction was overturned on Wednesday.
Howard University condemned comments made by Rashad, who was named dean of its Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts in May, through a statement shared Wednesday.
“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,” the statement continued. “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 I’ve up to this sacred commitment.”
Soon after the news broke on Wednesday that Cosby would be released from jail, Rashad, who starred on “The Cosby Show” for over a decade playing Clair Huxtable, tweeted:”FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”
The backlash was swift and hours later Rashad clarified her reaction.
“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward,” she wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Cosby was released from prison Wednesday after his conviction for sexual assault was thrown out by the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, the Associated Press reported.
The 83-year-old actor had served two years of his 10-year prison sentence for aggravated indecent assault after being convicted in the 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand.
Pennsylvania’s highest court found that Cosby’s rights were violated when he was told testimony in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand wouldn’t be used to prosecute him, which it later was.A spokesperson for Cosby, Andrew Wyatt, told Insider Wednesday, “This is amazing news. We’re excited and we want to thank the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.”
Kevin R. Steele, the district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where Cosby was convicted, responded to the news by sending a message to Constand and the other women who came forward, praising their “bravery in coming forward and remaining steadfast throughout this long ordeal.”
“My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual assaults by victims. Prosecutors in my office will continue to follow the evidence wherever and to whomever it leads,” Steele said on Wednesday.
Rashad’s first day as dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts is Thursday. She’s also known for her roles in “For Colored Girls,” “Creed,” “Creed 2,” “Empire,” and “This Is Us.”