Howard University reacted to Phylicia Rashad’s tweet supporting Bill Cosby, which they said “lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault.” Rashad is set to serve as dean of the university's Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts this fall.
On Wednesday (June 30), “The Cosby Show” co-star tweeted, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted” and, “A miscarriage of justice is corrected” about Cosby’s sudden release from prison. After receiving backlash for supporting the 83-year-old actor, Rashad later backtracked her comments.
“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.”
However, in a statement, Howard University distanced itself from Rashad’s stance and said the incoming dean’s words “lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault.”
“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,” the HBCU said.
“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 live up to this sacred commitment,” it added.
As reported by REVOLT, Rashad also received criticism for the tweet from fellow actress Janet Hubert.
“Phylicia what are you thinking!!! I don’t know you but to say this was terribly wrong. EVERYONE knew what he was doing back then. How could you NOT!” she tweeted yesterday. “Get your umbrella sista here comes the shit shower. I am outraged that he has been released. Yes he is an old ass guilty man!”
Hubert continued: “I would have said he’s old he’s out and I’m happy for him, but he still ...guilty. I know 5 women who have not come forward. Enough Ya’ll we know better. Powerful men do wrong things, black or white...”
Cosby, who was serving a three-to-10-year prison sentence for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in 2004, was freed from prison yesterday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction. The high court sided with Cosby’s lawyers and said prosecutors broke their agreement with the Grammy-winning comic when they tried him in criminal court.
See Howard University's full statement about Rashad’s tweet below.