Matt Rourke / AP
Bill Cosby called on Howard University to support the free speech of former co-star Phylicia Rashad after she expressed support for him when his sexual assault conviction was overturned.
In a statement, Cosby also lashed out at the media, comparing reporters to the rioters who stormed the Capitol in January.
“Howard University, you must support free speech (Ms. Rashad), which is taught or supposed to be taught every day at this renowned law school, which resides on your campus,” Cosby said in a statement provided to NPR. by its spokesperson Andrew Wyatt.
“These mainstream media became the insurgents, which stormed the Capitol,” Cosby continued in his statement. “These same media insurgents are trying to demolish the Constitution of this United States of America on this Independence Day.”
Cosby concluded by saying, “WE THE PEOPLE SUPPORT MRS. PHYLICIA RASHAD” in all caps.
Cosby’s support for Rashad comes after the actress, who played his television wife in The Cosby Show, defended the comedian in a tweet. Cosby was released from prison last week when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction on the grounds that his due process rights had been violated.
“FINALLY !!!! A terrible wrong is being righted – a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Rashad said last week.
The tweet has since been deleted and Rashad then backtracked, writing that she “fully supports survivors of sexual assault who come forward.” She also sent a letter of apology to Howard’s students.
Many Howard alumni have expressed disappointment at the remarks. Howard University responded with its own Tweeter, stating that “Dean Rashad’s original tweet lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault.”
Rashad was recently appointed Dean of the Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University.
Rashad, an acclaimed theater and film artist, graduated from Howard magna cum laude in 1970 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She returned as a guest speaker and adjunct faculty member.
In a statement announcing his appointment in May, Provost Anthony K. Wutoh said “Rashad’s passion for the arts and student achievement make him an ideal fit for this role.”
One of the students Rashad mentored at Howard was the late actor Chadwick Boseman, after whom the school’s College of Fine Arts is named after.