Phylicia Rashad offers ‘my most sincere apology’ to Howard students for celebrating Bill Cosby’s release
Actress and star of “The Cosby Show” Phylicia Rashad penned a letter that was sent out to students at Howard University where she is now a dean. The letter contained an apology for her remarks that she made in celebration of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction being overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
“My remarks were in no way directed toward survivors of sexual assault. I vehemently oppose sexual violence, find no excuse for such behavior, and I know that Howard University has a zero-tolerance policy toward interpersonal violence,” Rashad wrote.
Rashad is a graduate of Howard University herself and was appointed as the dean of the school’s College of Fine Arts in May.
After news of Cosby’s overturned conviction became public, Rashad tweeted, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!,” with a picture of the two together.
She has since removed “that upsetting tweet.”
In the letter, Rashad said that she will “engage in active listening and participate in trainings to not only reinforce University protocol and conduct, but also to learn how I can become a stronger ally to sexual assault survivors and everyone who has suffered at the hands of an abuser.”
“My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth,” Rashad continued. “Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
Her own employer denounced her initial comments after they went viral.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our first priority,” read a Howard University statement. “While Dean Rashad has acknowledged in her follow-up tweet that victims must be heard and believed, her initial tweet lacked sensitivity toward survivors of sexual assault.”
“Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies,” the statement added.