Earlier Wednesday, June 30, the 73-year-old actress and incoming dean of Howard University’s Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts, seemed overjoyed to celebrate Cosby’s shocking release from prison following the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturning his conviction.
“Finally,” Rashad tweeted. “A terrible wrong is being righted—a miscarriage of justice is corrected.”
The tweet has been re-shared almost 40,000 times and instantly clashed against anger and backlash from the general public. A few hours later, Rashad made a new comment that seemed to soften her stance and support those who have survived sexual abuse and assault.
“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward,” she wrote on Twitter and Instagram. “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.”
The statement doesn’t withdraw her support for Cosby or apologize for her earlier comments, but has been admonished by the celebrity community and other Twitizens. The latter has begun to call for her removal from deanship at Howard University, where she is also an alum.
Howard University issued a statement via Twitter, writing, “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. Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies. 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 will live up to this sacred commitment.”
In the past, Rashad has also come to Cosby’s defense, labeling some of the claims against him as “orchestrated.”
“Forget these women,” Rashad reportedly said in 2015. “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture. … Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV.”
The 83-year-old Cosby was reportedly freed Wednesday after serving more than two years of a three-to-10 year sentence at a state prison following dozens of women accusing him of rape and sexual assault. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that a “non-prosecution agreement” the actor struck with a previous prosecutor should have prevented him from being charged in a case that stemmed from a 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand.
This comes in light of several incriminating statements Cosby made during civil depositions, wherein he confessed that, in the past, he had provided Quaaludes to other women with whom he wanted to have sexual intercourse with.
Below, reactions from the online community who were dismayed by her comments.
Plus, comments from the online community who had her back.