Bill Cosby’s longtime friend and former television wife, Phylicia Rashad, celebrated the news on Twitter just hours after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed his conviction for indecent assault and ordered his release from prison.
And not long after, another familiar face from prime-time television made an appearance on social media.
Janet Hubert, best known to fans as the original Aunt Viv from the show’s first three seasons, chastised Rashad for a tweet in which the alum of “The Cosby Show” claimed that “a terrible wrong is being righted” and referred to Cosby’s earlier conviction as a “miscarriage of justice.”
“What are you thinking, Phylicia!!!!” In a tweet, Hubert stated. “I don’t know you, but this was egregiously wrong. EVERYONE was aware of what he was doing at the time. How could you possibly NOT! Take out your umbrella, sista, because the sh— shower is about to begin. I am outraged by his release. Yes, he is a crotchety old man!”
Cosby was convicted in 2018 of three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in connection with the 2004 alleged drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand. Over 60 additional women have leveled allegations against the now-83-year-old, alleging everything from groping to sexual assault to rape.
Hubert continued, “I would have said he’s old, he’s out, and I’m happy for him, but he’s still…guilty.” I am aware of five women who have remained silent. Enough, Ya’ll, we’ve learned our lesson. Men in positions of power, whether black or white, commit wrongdoing…”
Her posts elicited a range of responses from fans and followers, with some siding with her against Rashad, while others defended Cosby and criticized the timing of her message.
“Yall celebrities love to nitpick when it comes to being socially conscious,” one commenter tweeted. Maintain this energy on a constant basis, not just when it’s a #1 trending topic.”
Rashad, 73, deleted her initial tweet defending her former co-star following backlash on social media from critics who equated her support for Cosby with a lack of support for women who have spoken out about their own experiences.
“I am completely supportive of survivors of sexual assault speaking out,” she added in another tweet. “My post was not meant to be insensitive to their reality. Personally, I am aware through friends and family that such abuse has long-lasting consequences. My heartfelt wish is for you to be healed.”
Howard University, where Rashad is currently the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, also responded to her remarks via a statement shared on the university’s official Twitter account.
“Sexual assault survivors will always be our first priority,” the message read. “While Dean Rashad acknowledged in her follow-up tweet that victims must be heard and believed, her initial tweet demonstrated a lack of sensitivity toward sexual assault survivors. The University’s leadership positions are not reflective of Howard University’s policies. We will continue to be a strong advocate for survivors and their right to be heard. Howard will stand up for survivors and take on systems that seek to deprive them of justice. We have complete confidence in our faculty and school administration to uphold this sacred commitment.”