Phylicia Rashad apologized to the Howard University community for her recent tweet supporting Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case being overturned, according to CNN. In a written statement to students, faculty, and parents, Rashad — who is the university’s newest dean — also showed support for survivors of sexual violence.
"My remarks were in no way directed towards 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 says in the letter, posted Friday, July 2.
The Cosby Show actress — a Howard alumna who is currently serving as new Dean of College of Fine Arts — also added that she looks "to engage in active listening and participate in training(s) to not only reinforce University protocol and conduct but also to learn how [she] can become a stronger ally to sexual assault survivors and everyone who has suffered at the hands of an abuser," according to the report.
On June 30, shortly after Cosby had been released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled to overturn his conviction over a due process violation, Rashad tweeted, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” She has since deleted the tweet after facing backlash from those who believe her words were insensitive to Cosby’s alleged victims and sexual assault survivors everywhere. Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by more than 50 women.
Rashad’s apology follows her tweet being disavowed by the university earlier this week. Wednesday (June 30th) the Cosby Show actress tweeted in celebration following her friend and colleague being released from prison, but was met with a lot of scrutiny from the school’s student body. She had later removed the tweet before stating that she “fully supports the sexual assault survivors coming forward,” according to the post.
"My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth," the actress tweeted, according to CNN. "Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing."
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