Actress Phylicia Rashad has been drawn into controversy of her own following remarks she made about her former co-star Bill Cosby’s ongoing media firestorm, in the wake of over 30 allegations of inappropriate conduct with women over several decades.
Rashad was originally quoted as saying “forget those women” when asked about the accusers by entertainment website Showbiz 411. She later said “that was a misquote” during a sit-down on-camera interview with ABC News. “What I said is this is not about the women. This is about something else. This is about the obliteration of a legacy,” Rashad said. “I am a woman. I would never say such a thing.”
Showbiz 411 columnist Roger Friedman clarified the provocative quote in a statement on Wednesday: “I did not misquote Phylicia Rashad. But she didn’t mean for it to be taken the way it was, and I should have punctuated. There was NEVER the meaning in ‘Forget those women’ that she was saying to actually forget or dismiss them. She meant, ‘those women aside’ – as in, she’s not talking about that, she’s talking about Cosby’s legacy being destroyed.”
He added, “It was conversational. Somehow this got twisted. I am really sorry if the way I presented it made it seem like either one of us was forgetting anyone.”
Meanwhile, protesters greeted the first of Bill Cosby’s three scheduled stand-up performances at Kitchener, Ontario’s Centre In the Square. But apparently the show itself went off without a hitch. According to NBC’s Kate Snow, Cosby joked about “safe topics,” like family, kids and the weather.
After previously urging calm and acknowledging the potential for a disruption, Cosby thanked his fans for their support in a statement after the show: “Dear Fans: I would like to personally thank you for giving me the opportunity to bring laughter back into your lives tonight. Also, I would like to applaud all of you and give you a standing ovation for respecting yourselves, the theatre (Centre In The Square) and the event organizers that produced a spectacular show for the Kitchener Community.”
Although Cosby has never been charged with a crime, he is the subject of a defamation suit by some of his accusers, which has been spearheaded by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred. On Wednesday, Allred held a press conference in which she condemned Rashad’s reported remarks and unveiled three new women who detailed allegations of being drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. However, the statute of limitations has expired in each of the three women’s cases.
Cosby has refused to speak publicly about the mounting accusations against him, which include allegations from former models Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson. However, he has denied similar allegations in the past and his attorney Marty Singer has called them “unsubstantiated” and “fantastical.”
On Wednesday, NBC News interviewed Idris Younis, who attended Cosby’s performance at Centre In The Square.
“People are judging him wrong. I believe that if something happened to you now deal with it now,” Younis said.
At the end of a nearly two-hour set he told the audience, “I’m leaving but I had a wonderful time.” Protesters tell NBC that they are planning on staging a larger demonstration at Cosby’s next show.