Phylicia Rashad caused quite a commotion on Wednesday on the heels of the announcement that her former co-star, Bill Cosby, had his sexual assault conviction overturned due to a technicality. She took to Twitter to support the fallen star and angered a lot of survivors in the process, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”
Not surprisingly, that tweet has disappeared from her feed and was replaced later in the day with a more appropriate response, but it came too late down the pike. “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth,” she wrote. “Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
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.
— Phylicia Rashad (@PhyliciaRashad) June 30, 2021
The problem now is that it is hard to believe she really means those words. She’s doubled (and tripled) down on her support of Cosby since 2014 when the allegations first came to light. When she sent out that tweet on Wednesday, it was done with full passion and emotion for her friend, who she thinks was wronged.
What doesn’t sit right with us is that she recently accepted an incredible new job as the dean of Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. It is her role to mentor and lead the next generation of young artists, yet here she is disavowing approximately 60 sexual assault survivors in the Cosby case. Just because the former actor was a good friend and co-worker to Rashad doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of doing bad things to others. Those two things can co-exist and she needs to understand that in her new position.
— Howard University (@HowardU) July 1, 2021
Howard University had to issue their own statement due to the furious backlash, and while they state that “survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority,” they also stand by Rashad as their dean. “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,” the university statement said. That might not make all of the Boseman College of Fine Arts students feel safe, especially when sexual assault survivors already face tremendous challenges when coming forward.
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