Cosby, convicted of drugging and assaulting a woman, was released from prison Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated his sexual assault conviction. After that ruling, Rashad, who played Cosby’s wife on “The Cosby Show,” wrote in a now-deleted tweet: “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”
Rashad received immediate criticism as many pointed to her responsibility as a college dean to hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable.
“Honestly I’m really upset about Phylicia,” tweeted writer Jenée Desmond-Harris. “Howard is the ONLY institution I’ve ever been associated with that I actually care about, and that has the ability to disappoint or embarrass me. This sucks.”
In the apology issued Friday, Rashad said she does not excuse behavior related to sexual violence and plans to participate in trainings to “become a stronger ally.”
But many on Twitter were not convinced by her apology, citing Rashad’s long defense of Cosby, calling for her to acknowledge Cosby’s alleged transgressions and maintained calls for her to resign.
“She has never believed in his guilt. . . . Rashad needs to resign for legacy sake,” tweeted actress Jewel Shepard.
Following a Rashad tweet walking back her comments Wednesday, Howard issued a statement saying that while the follow-up tweet acknowledged that “victims must be heard and believed,” Rashad’s initial tweet “lacked sensitivity.” Howard did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday in response to Rashad’s apology.