The Cosby Show actress, 73, quickly reacted to the news of Cosby’s release after nearly three years in prison. “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted — a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” she shared via Twitter on Wednesday, June 30.
Now, the incoming dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts is apologizing to students and parents. “This week, I tweeted a statement that caused so much hurt in so many people — both broadly and inside the Howard community. I offer my most sincere apology. I have since removed that upsetting tweet,” Rashad wrote in a letter, according to the Huffington Post. “I am sorry. I intend to earn your trust and forgiveness.”
She continued, “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.”
Cosby, 83, was released from prison after his three to 10-year sentence was overturned. Us Weekly confirmed on Wednesday, June 30, that the Pennsylvania high court found an agreement with a previous prosecutor that prevented him from being charged in Andrea Constand‘s case. Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor decided in 2005 that Cosby could not be prosecuted due to a perceived lack of credibility on Constand’s part, partially because she did not file a complaint against him immediately. Cosby was released hours later.
“I have never changed my stance nor my story,” the comic tweeted after his release. “I have always maintained my innocence. Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law.”
Nearly 60 women accused Cosby of sexual harassment and/or assault. Cosby denies there were any nonconsensual interactions.
Rashad has previously supported her former costar. “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated,” Rashad told Showbiz 411 in 2015. “I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture. … Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV.”
The This Is Us star added that she’ll make an effort to learn more about sexual abuse and misconduct.
“Over the next few weeks, I plan to engage in active listening and participate in trainings to not only reinforce University protocol and conduct, but also to learn how I can become a stronger ally to sexual assault survivors and everyone who has suffered at the hands of an abuser,” she added in her letter. “Thank you for voicing your concerns, for speaking your truth and for holding leaders accountable for our actions and words.”