Oh: actress Phylicia Rashad, Bill Cosby's one-time T.V. wife, has weighed in on the two dozen separate sexual assault allegations against him, telling an entertainment reporter "Forget these women." She implied that Cosby's accusers are all part of an orchestrated smear campaign. Clair Huxtable, what are you doing.
Rashad made her comments to Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman during a luncheon for the movie Selma. She unambiguously supported Cosby and trashed his accusers, saying, "I love him," and adding, "Forget these women. What you're seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it's orchestrated. 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." (And really, what better time to invoke a word like "legacy" to defend Bill Cosby than at a screening of a movie about Dr. Martin Luther King?)
A little later, Rashad made it clear to Friedman that she believes someone besides the women is behind the accusations: "Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV. And it's worked. All his contracts have been cancelled." She did not speculate who that might be.
Friedman reports that he asked her specifically about the claims made by Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson, the latter of whom wrote about Cosby allegedly drugging her in a long essay in Vanity Fair. Rashad's response, in full, was, "Oh, please." She also said there was no way Camille Cosby would've ignored the kind of behavior her husband is accused of: "This is a tough woman, a smart woman. She's no pushover."
Rashad's comments are the most specific we've heard from any former Cosby show actor, most of whom haven't wanted to get involved in the controversy. After Keshia Knight Pulliam made news for not wanting to phone Cosby during Celebrity Apprentice, leading to her firing, she told the Today Show, ""What I can say is this: I wasn't there. No one was there except for the two people who know exactly what happened. All I can speak to is the man that I know and I love. The fact that he's been such an example, you can't take away from the great that he has done." Raven-Symoné, another former Cosby co-star, has emphatically denied rumors that he molested her during the show, adding, "Everyone on that show treated me with nothing but kindness. Now keep me out of this!"
So, at this point we have two options: either Bill Cosby systematically raped and terrorized women over several decades and his victims are now finding the courage to come forward, or, you know, a vasty shadowy cabal of Somebodies is working in concert to "keep him off TV."
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