Bill Cosby is a free man.
As previously reported by The Root, the once-loved comedian was released from prison on Wednesday after the high court of Pennsylvania saw fit to release Cosby based on a “prosecutorial technicality.”
Naturally, this news immediately lit a firestorm on social media with most folks expressing either support or disappointment over the surprising turn of events. One person’s social media post in particular stood out from the rest, though: The Cosby Show actress and newly dubbed Dean of Fine Arts at Howard University Phylicia Rashad.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!,” the A Fall From Grace star wrote on Twitter.
Whew. Big yikes.
OK. So this is normally the part where I offer some sort of commentary in an effort to explain the nuance of any given situation. But seeing how strong, swift and spot on the reactions were to Rashad’s tweet—and considering the fact that I, too, am a survivor—I’ll just let these tweets speak for me:
“Couple of things....,” one user wrote. “1. He admitted to drugging and raping women....2. Why she limit her replies like quotes don’t work? It actually made it worst for this tweet lmao. 3. How long before she deletes this? 24 hours?4. That Dean position at Howard U is gonna get SNATCHED.”
“So proud to be from Howard University! Look at our role models! Defending serial rapists, warms the heart, it really does,” another expressed.
“I’m sure Phylicia Rashad being the new dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts will have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on how that program handles student claims of sexual harassment and assault. Yep, nothing to see here, folks. Shut up and dance,” a user tweeted.
“He raped multiple women, but is being let out of prison because of prosecutorial incompetence. yay justice,” wrote another.
“I can only imagine how students would feel seeing their college dean tweeting this,” another user wondered.
Another user echoed similar sentiments, writing: “Dean Rashad, Is this how you’re going to react when a Howard CoFA student tells you they were assaulted by another student if that student happens to be someone you like and admire? Because what you’re telling Howard women rn is that you don’t care if they’re raped.”
“Don’t forget to go when you leave @phyliciarashad,” said another.
The Root’s news editor, Monique Judge, also weighed in with a thread full of facts.
Sending love and support to all survivors.
Updated: Wednesday, 6/30/21 at 5:30 p.m., ET: Amid the backlash, Rashad tweeted a message of support for survivors of sexual assault, claiming her intent was not “to be insensitive to their truth.” This time, she enabled replies to her post, immediately garnering thousands of responses.
I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.
As of this update, her original post has not been deleted.