Howard University expressed disdain with new Dean and alumna Phylicia Rashad expressing support for Bill Cosby’s release from prison after accusations of sexual assault. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor

When comedian and actor Bill Cosby was released from prison on a technicality after serving almost three years for alleged drugging and sexual assault on June 30, his former co-star Phylicia Rashad expressed her support for his newfound freedom.  Rashad took to social media to cheer on Cosby, however her twitter fingers in support of the comedian was upsetting and triggering to many- including her new place of employment and alma mater, Howard University.

“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected,” said Rashad, who played Cosby’s television wife for more than a decade on “The Cosby Show” and “Cosby.”

People felt like her support of her former television husband was incredibly insensitive to Cosby’s accusers and victims of sexual violence.

“Sixty other victims came out and spoke about #BillCosby sexual abuse. It is unfortunate that #PhyliciaRashad has taken the side of the perpetrator. This is why powerful men like him can continue to victimize,” some wrote via re-tweet as public responses are turned off on the post.

She later tried to clarify her tweet, keeping the original post, with Cosby’s picture right below.  This time the comments were open and much of the sentiment continued to emphasize the scores of women who have accused Cosby of harassment.

“You cannot root for the rapist and the victim. 60 women came forward and yet that was not enough for you. Sixty,” Emmy-winning entertainment publicist Danny Deraney replied. “Would you like to sit with some of the victims and tell them about your happiness that he was released? I can hook you up.”

Howard University, who recently appointed Rashad as Dean of the school’s Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts, expressed their disdain with her comments.

“Survivors of sexual assault will always be a priority.  While Dean Rashad acknowledged in her follow-up tweet that victims must be heard and believed, her initial tweet lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault,” Howard University wrote in a statement and published to social media.  “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 leadership will live up to this sacred commitment.”

However some are calling on Howard to remove Rashad from the institution’s leadership, before she even has officially started.

“As long as remains on your payroll, this statement means absolutely nothing,” one person tweeted.

“I wouldn’t trust Howard with my daughters as long as you have DEANS that stand with sexual predators. I imagine MANY parents feel the same.”

Rashad was set to begin as Dean just a day after the June 30 controversy on July 1.

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Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor