Phylicia Rashad defends former co-star Bill Cosby and slams accusers

Phylicia Rashad, who played Bill Cosby’s TV wife, has come to his defense.
Phylicia Rashad, who played Bill Cosby’s TV wife, has come to his defense.

Finally, she has spoken.

Phylicia Rashad, who played Claire Huxtable, Bill Cosby’s TV wife on “The Cosby Show,” has come to his defense after at least 15 women have accused him of sexually harassing and assaulting them decades ago.

Rashad spoke to Roger Friedman, who writes the Showbiz411 column, on Monday at a luncheon for the new movie, “Selma.”

“Let’s make something clear,” Friedman writes. “Rashad, who is one of our greatest stage actresses, has kept quiet, didn’t seek me out, and even said ‘I don’t want to become part of the public debate.’”

But Friedman reports that the Tony-winning actress stands by Cosby, saying that she has never seen the behavior alleged by the women who have accused him of drugging and raping them.

“Forget these women,” Rashad said. “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.”

Of former supermodels Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson who have accused Cosby of drugging them and raping them, Rashad said indignantly: “Oh, please.”

About Cosby’s wife, Camille, she told Friedman: “This is a tough woman, a smart woman. She’s no pushover.”

Rashad is convinced that “someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV. And it’s worked. All his contracts have been canceled.”

She didn’t fault Cosby for not publicly defending himself against the allegations, which continue to surface.

“If he spoke now, what do you think the media would do with it?” she said.