Phylicia Rashad Apologizes to Howard Students Over Cosby Tweets

The actress, who was appointed dean of Howard’s College of Fine Arts, received major backlash for celebrating Cosby’s sexual assault conviction being overturned.

Phylicia Rashad offered her “most sincere apology” to the students of Howard University after defending Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction being overturned.

“My remarks were in no way directed towards survivors of sexual assault,” the actress, who was appointed dean of Howard’s College of Fine Arts in May, wrote on Friday. “I vehemently oppose sexual violence, find no excuse for such behavior, and I know that Howard University has a zero-tolerance policy toward interpersonal violence.”

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On Wednesday, Rashad received backlash for tweeting a photo of Cosby with the caption, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” In her letter, she revealed she has since removed “that upsetting tweet.”

She also stated she plans to “engage in active listening and participate in trainings to not only reinforce University protocol and conduct, but also to learn how I can become a stronger ally to sexual assault survivors and everyone who has suffered at the hands of an abuser.”

Following Wednesday’s initial tweet, Rashad posted, “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.”

Shortly after, Howard University released a statement in support of sexual assault victims.

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“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our first priority. 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.”

Cosby was released from prison on Wednesday, having served two of the 10 years he was sentenced after being found guilty of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004. According to court documents, the judges found that an agreement Cosby had with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in his 2018 case.

Rashad played Cosby’s wife on television on “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992 and on “Cosby” from 1996 to 2000.

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