Phylicia Rashad Walks Back Bill Cosby Comments Amid Backlash

Phylicia Rashad and Bill Cosby
Jamie McCarthy;David Maialetti-Pool/Getty Images

Phylicia Rashad, best known for playing Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show, has tried to walk back her comments on Bill Cosby‘s overturned conviction following social media backlash.

The actress, who also played Cosby’s wife in the CBS sitcom Cosby, took to Twitter on Wednesday to celebrate her former co-star’s release from prison. “FINALLY!!!!” she tweeted. “A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”

While the replies on the tweet were switched off, the post received thousands of retweets, with people sharing their comments and reactions. Rashad’s name was also trending on the social media app, along with “Claire Huxtable.” Following the backlash, Rashad later returned to Twitter to offer a follow-up tweet.

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“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward,” she wrote. “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.”

Howard University later shared a statement disavowing the comments made by Rashad, who is about to begin her post as dean of the fine arts college. The Washington, D.C.-based University said that the initial tweet “lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault” before adding, “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.”

Cosby’s sexual assault conviction was thrown out by Pennsylvania’s highest court on Wednesday after it was revealed that the prosecutor who brought the case against him was bound by an agreement not to charge him. The 83-year-old comedian has served just over two years of a three to 10-year sentence after being found guilty of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.