Bill Cosby has issued a statement in support of his former TV wife, Phylicia Rashad, following backlash she received for celebrating his release from prison earlier this week.
“Howard University you must support ones Freedom of Speech (Ms. Rashad), which is taught or suppose to be taught everyday at that renowned law school, which resides on your campus,” Cosby said in the statement, which was issued via his spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt. Representatives for Howard University and Rashad did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
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Following the news on Wednesday that Cosby’s sexual assault conviction had been overturned, Rashad, who currently serves as the Dean of Howard’s College of Fine Arts, tweeted: “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Rashad’s message was met with backlash on social media, with some calling for her to be removed from her post.
Rashad then posted another message to Twitter, writing: “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.”
On Wednesday night, Howard University issued a statement denouncing Rashad’s remarks, writing in part: “Survivors of sexual assault will always be our 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.” Rashad has also since apologized in a letter to Howard University students and families.
Cosby ended his statement by seemingly comparing media outlets to those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, and claimed that his conviction was not overturned on a “technicality.”
“This mainstream media are the Insurrectionists, who stormed the Capitol. Those same Media Insurrectionists are trying to demolish the Constitution of these United State of America on this Independence Day,” Cosby wrote. “NO TECHNICALITY — IT’S A VIOLATION OF ONES RIGHTS & WE THE PEOPLE STAND IN SUPPORT OF MS. PHYLICIA RASHAD.”
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed their 2018 sexual assault conviction of Cosby, on the grounds that Cosby’s agreement with former prosecutor Bruce Castor in 2005 should have prevented him from being charged again.
“The collective weight of these considerations led D.A. Castor to conclude that, unless Cosby confessed, there was insufficient credible and admissible evidence upon which any charge against Mr. Cosby related to the Constand incident could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the decision reads.
Following news of Cosby’s release, many in Hollywood expressed their dismay at the decision reversal.
Debra Messing tweeted, “To every woman who was sexual assaulted by Bill Cosby my heart hurts for you today and I am full fury. It’s horrifying,” while Rose McGowan wrote, “I stand with all of Bill Cosby’s accusers on this dark day.”
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