Outraged students have demanded that former Bill Cosby co-star be ousted from her post as dean of a major university for tweeting support for her.
The hashtag ‘ByePhilicia’ started trending after Phylicia Rashad – who played Cosby Clair Huxtable’s wife on The Cosby Show between 1984 and 1992 – tweeted: ‘FINALLY! A terrible wrong is being righted – a miscarriage of justice is being corrected. ‘
Rashad, 73, also shared his thoughts on Instagram, after Cosby was released from three years into a 10-year sentence when his indecent assault conviction was overturned.
His support sparked outrage among students and alumni of Howard University in Washington DC, where Rashad has served as dean of the College of Fine Arts since May.
Former student Andrew Addison said Rashad’s comments showed she was unfit for the job and called on Howard to “do the right thing and rectify the situation.”
Another alumnus, Nylah Burton, shared Rashad’s tweet and wrote: “So proud to be from Howard University! Look at our models! Defending serial rapists is heartwarming, really.
Phylicia Rashad was convicted by students at Howard University in Washington DC – where she is dean – for a tweet supporting the release of Bill Cosby
Rahsad sent this tweet after Cosby’s release on Wednesday – and conviction quickly followed
The reporter later added, “So since the dean of the College of Fine Arts wants to tell all of his students that he is not interested in sexual assault.”
Whitney Meritus, who is part of Howard’s 2024 class, wrote on Instagram: “Hold her ass accountable.
“I would take an un famous dean who believes AS victims rather than a famous dean who does bullshit like that …
“Don’t get me wrong, I know she was his teacher and everything, but I don’t think she deserves to lead the Chadwick A. Boseman School of Fine Arts. No more.’
The school was named after Black Panther star Boseman after his death from cancer at the age of 43 only in August 2020.
Thousands more have also taken to Twitter to condemn Rashad.
A tweeter called Mister Race Bannon shared a photo of the Cosby actress and wrote, “I don’t want to live in a world where you can’t even trust Clair Huxtable.”
Former student-turned-journalist Nylah Burton sarcastically tweeted that she was “so proud” to have attended college where Rashad now teaches
Howard’s Class of 2024 Whitney Meritus took to Instagram and wrote ‘Hold her ass accountable’
Other tweeters were stunned that the actress – famous for playing a healthy TV mom – could share such a controversial sentiment
Black History Matters took a screenshot of the offending tweet and captioned it: “Tell me you’re a hypocrite without telling me you’re a hypocrite #ByePhylicia.”
Angela Belcamino said: “Imagine rooting for the release of Cosby from prison who admitted to drugging and assaulting women.”
And actress Jenny Johnson said, “Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad must have buried a body together. This is the only plausible reason I can find for her to still support him.
‘#ByePhylicia’ The hashtag was a play on the phrase ‘Bye Felicia’, which first appeared in the 1995 cult movie Friday, and has since become a sassy way to fire someone.
Rashad then deleted the offending tweet and issued a creepy apology.
She said, “I fully support survivors of sexual assault who come forward. My post was in no way intended to be oblivious to their truth. Personally, I know from my friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My most sincere wish is healing.
Howard University also posted a tweet claiming that “survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority” and admitting that Rashad’s words “lack sensitivity.”
Rashad deleted the offending tweet and apologized
Howard also shared a statement disavowing her dean’s words – but did not say if she would be disciplined
It is not known if she will face disciplinary action.
Cosby was released from jail at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on Wednesday and was taken home to his mansion in Elkins Park, Pa., To be reunited with his wife Camille.
He was released from three years after a ten-year sentence after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Cosby should never have been charged, tried or convicted in the first place.
Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor didn’t believe Cosby’s accuser Andrea Constand’s 2005 allegation of being drugged and raped was strong enough to lay charges against the star.
Rashad is pictured in the blue dress alongside Bill Cosby on the hit sitcom The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992
Cosby, 83, was released from prison in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, two years after his 10-year sentence began after his sexual assault conviction was overturned.
He persuaded Cosby to sit down for a taped deposition for a civil case brought by Constand, which saw the comedian admit to illegally drugging and assaulting women.
Castor – who defended Cosby in his second impeachment trial – gave Cosby a written guarantee that his confession would not be used as evidence to lay criminal charges.
But after Castor left his post, his successor Kevin Steele used the confession of testimony to lay criminal charges against Cosby in 2015.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the written promise to Cosby was binding and quashed his conviction.