Bill Cosby's recent unexpected release from prison continues to spark reactions of all kinds, and anyone who thought that Cosby would make an attempt to avoid the public's attention has seen the opposite happen. Though he stayed silent during his post-release press conference with his legal team, it wasn't long before Cosby got vocal on social media, and he had quite the strong reaction to the backlash facing former Cosby Show co-star Phylicia Rashad over her tweet celebrating Cosby's newfound freedom.
For those who might have missed it, Phylicia Rashad's initial reaction to Bill Cosby's prison release showed her to be fully in the disgraced comedian's corner, though the ensuing widespread fallout led to Rashad deleting that particular tweet, as well as following up with another message saying she fully supports victims of sexual assault. But not before it had drawn the attention of Howard University, where Rashad was appointed dean of the school's College of Fine Arts, which happened just two months prior. The university shared a statement distancing itself from Rashad's opinions, which is what sparked Cosby to issue the following statement in response, according to THR:
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. . . . This 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. NO TECHNICALITY — IT’S A VIOLATION OF ONES RIGHTS & WE THE PEOPLE STAND IN SUPPORT OF MS. PHYLICIA RASHAD.
The legally blind Bill Cosby did not hold back in rebuking both Howard University and the entirety of mainstream media with accusations that the school was somehow not supporting Phylicia Rashad's freedom of speech, and that the media itself was to blame for the January 6 storming of the Capitol. (No one who has been arrested in connection with the insurrection is part of the mainstream media, to note.) Though the statement was technically in defense of his former co-star, it's not unbelievable to think that Cosby's comments about the media at large were tied to the mountain of coverage surrounding his release in and of itself, as his release definitely sparked a resurgence in conversations surrounding the variety of sexual assault allegations made against him over the years.
Though Bill Cosby seemingly had no issue with slamming Howard University, Phylicia Rashad understandably took a completely different path of communication. Rashad penned a letter to the school's students and staff formally apologizing for her pro-Cosby sentiment and the implication that she was not supportive of sexual assault victims. In it, she said:
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,
It's been nearly seven years since comedian Hannibal Burress restarted conversations about the widespread rumors of Bill Cosby's past sexual exploits, which led to a massive backlash throughout the entertainment industry, with several cancelled projects and more surrounding his 2018 arrest and sentencing for multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand. His release occurred after it was ruled that his due process rights were violated concerning an agreement made years prior with a former district attorney that his court testimony during the initial 2005 court case could not be used to prosecute him. It's unclear at this time if Constand's legal team, or those of any other victims, will make new attempts to take Cosby back to court.