Phylicia Rashad Apologizes to Howard University Students Over "Insensitive" Bill Cosby Comments

After tweeting in support of Bill Cosby's prison release, The Cosby Show's Phylicia Rashad said she didn't intend to diminish the "lifelong residual effects" that assault survivors often face.

By McKenna Aiello Jun 30, 2021 10:27 PMTags
Watch: See Bill Cosby's State Prison Quarters

UPDATE: Phylicia Rashad, who is a dean at Howard University, issued an apology to students following her "insensitive" comments following Bill Cosby's prison release.

"My remarks were in no way directed towards survivors of sexual assault. 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," the actress wrote in a letter on Friday, July 2, per CNN.

The Cosby Show star explained in her letter that 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."

Along with Phylicia's apology to students, she addressed her remarks about the disgraced actor earlier this week. Keep on reading below for more information.


Phylicia Rashad is responding to backlash over her reaction to Bill Cosby's prison release. 

The actress, who played Cosby's wife on his eponymous show, tweeted in support of the scorned comedian after Pennsylvania's Supreme Court vacated his 2018 assault conviction.

"FINALLY!!!!" she wrote on June 30. "A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!" 

Bill Cosby Scandal: Celebs React

Three hours later, after coming under fire for the tweet and muting her replies, Rashad spoke out again to say she didn't intend to diminish the pain many sexual assault survivors often face. 

"I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward," the This Is Us star, 73, tweeted. "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."

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Rashad has been a vocal ally of Cosby, who served almost three years behind bars for a 2018 conviction of three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. 

The state's Supreme Court said Cosby was released from prison as a result of an agreement he made with a previous prosecutor that prevented him from facing criminal charges in the case. 

While a spokesperson for Cosby described the news as "justice for Black America," Andrea Constand, the woman who accused the star of drugging and assaulting her in 2004, said today's outcome resulted from a "procedural technicality." 

Her statement read in part, "Today's majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in prosecution of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action." 

Cosby has maintained his contact with Constand was consensual and denied all other allegations of wrongdoing. 

In a 2019 jailhouse interview, Cosby said he won't express remorse for his alleged actions. "I was there," he remarked at the time. "I don't care what group of people come along and talk about this when they weren't there. They don't know."

(This story was originally published on June 30, 2020, at 3:27 p.m. PT)