“Cosby Show” alum and co-star Phylicia Rashad is getting major pushback following her celebratory tweet after co-star Bill Cosby’s release from prison earlier this week.
After news of Cosby’s release broke on Wednesday following the overturning of his conviction on multiple sexual abuse allegations, Rashad tweeted, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”
Those posts drew quick rebuttals from other social media users and notable figures including Janet Hubert, who starred in TV’s “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
“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,” she wrote. “How could you NOT! Get your umbrella sista here comes the shit shower. I am outraged that he has been released. Yes he is an old a– guilty man!”
“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,” she added. “Enough Ya’ll we know better. Powerful men do wrong things, black or white…”
Later, Rashad walked back her initial statement, saying she wanted to see “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,” she tweeted.
Cosby was released on a technicality after serving two of a three-to-10 year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia after being convicted of drugging and sexually abusing accuser Andrea Constand in 2004.
He was arrested in 2015 by a state prosecutor 12 days before the statute of limitations expired using newly damaging testimony by Cosby from her lawsuit that had been newly unsealed. At his first trial, the judge only allowed one other accuser to testify, but on retrial, after the jury deadlocked, he allowed five more accusers to testify about their experiences with the star comedian in the 1980s.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said the follow-on testimony tainted the retrial though a lower appeals court ruled that the additional testimony was allowable because it established a pattern of behavior of Cosby drugging and then sexually abusing women.
Also, the higher court ruled that Cosby, when he admitted during testimony for Constand’s lawsuit that he used drugs including Quaaludes on women, believed he was immune from prosecution, so subsequently targeting him in 2015 amounted to an unconstitutional “coercive bait-and-switch.”
Rashad defended her on-screen husband previously. In a 2015 interview with ABC, she went on record to clarify an earlier statement in which she was quoted as saying “forget those women” accusers.
“That was a misquote, that is not what I said,” she clarified at the time. “What I said is this is not about the women. This is about something else. This is about the obliteration of legacy.”
Following Cosby’s release, two women who said that he drugged and abused them told ABC News they felt sickened by the ruling.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of people are expressing feelings of trauma, retraumatization, feeling helpless and hopeless in the criminal justice system,” Elizabeth Jeglic, a professor of clinical psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a specialist in sexual violence prevention, told the network.
“Following #MeToo, we had some hope,” Jeglic noted further. “It’s very difficult for survivors to come forward and make accusations, and to go through the criminal justice system process. So when you see that it has failed yet again, you just kind of feel like, ‘What can I do?’ ‘How is this ever going to end?'”
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