Bill Cosby Takes Aim at Howard University Amid Phylicia Rashad Backlash

Bill Cosby released a disjointed statement criticizing Howard University over its response to Phylicia Rashad's tweet celebrating his release from prison.

Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after the first day of his sexual assault retrial.

Image via Getty/Mark Makela

Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after the first day of his sexual assault retrial.

Less than a week after he was released from prison due to a violation of due process, Bill Cosby issued a rather incoherent statement Sunday, in response to his The Cosby Show co-star Phylicia Rashad retracted her celebratory tweet following the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to overturn his sexual assault conviction, Deadline reports

Cosby’s statement criticized Howard for its lack of support for her First Amendment right. “Howard University you must support ones Freedom of Speech (Ms. Rashad), which is taught or suppose to be taught everyday at that renowned law school, which resides on your campus,” he said. 

From there, Cosby’s remarks became increasingly unhinged.. “This (sic) mainstream media are the Insurrectionists, who stormed the Capitol. Those same Media Insurrectionists are trying to demolish the Constitution of these United State of America on this Independence Day,” the statement reads. “No technicality — it’s a violation of ones rights & we the people stand in support of Ms. Phylicia Rashad.”

Rashad received heavy backlash after she tweeted her support for her former co-star following the news of Cosby’s release. “FINALLY!!! A terrible wrong is being righted – a miscarriage of justice is corrected,” Rashad wrote in the since-deleted tweet.

Howard University said her response to Cosby’s release “lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault,” to which she acknowledged in a clarification of her own. “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,” she wrote

Rashad, an alumna of Howard University, was appointed in May as dean of the school’s College of Fine Arts, a position that would go into effect one day after her controversial tweet was posted.

The technicality that freed Cosby from prison stems from sworn testimony that shouldn’t have been used in the 2018 case in which he was found guilty on all three counts of indecent assault towards former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. In the testimony, Cosby admits to providing women with sedatives in an effort to have sex with them, but maintains that these encounters were still consensual. He also confessed to giving Constand several Benadryl pills on the night of the alleged assault. 

These remarks were delivered after state prosecutor Bruce Castor struck a deal with the former comedian’s attorneys in 2005, where he would not face criminal charges as part of Constand’s lawsuit, which resulted in a multimillion-dollar settlement. After defeating Castor in the District Attorney election, Kevin Steele moved quickly to charge Cosby before the statute of limitations expired on the grounds that the jury in Constand’s case found him guilty. 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Steele’s use of anything pertaining to the 2005 lawsuit violated Cosby’s agreed upon deal with Castor. As part of the court’s decision, Cosby cannot be retried by prosecutors.

“Today’s majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action,” Constand said in a statement following the overturned conviction. 

Latest in Pop Culture