There are so many reasons why Bill Cosby's recent rape allegations are heartbreaking, and the fact that over 20 women have sat in silence for decades, unable to come forward about the abuse they suffered is just the tip of the iceberg. Although hearing their horrifying stories is certainly enough to become upset, it's not just that the idea of Bill Cosby, legendary actor and supposed good guy has been destroyed for all of us — it's that the image we had in our minds of Dr. Cliff Huxtable, TV father figure for everyone who grew up watching The Cosby Show, has been shattered, too. And now, his TV wife Phylicia Rashad is ready to disappoint us, too.
Because instead of holding Cosby accountable for his actions, Rashad has decided to take the route of defending Cosby, and her comments on the situation are incredibly surprising. During an interview on Tuesday, she said:
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… Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV, and it’s worked. All his contracts have been canceled.
I'm not even sure where to begin with this, because although it's disappointing when anyone takes Cosby's side instead of his victims', Rashad's defense especially stings. It's almost understandable that she'd be willing to stand by a partner she worked closely with for so many years, especially if she never witnessed any abuse firsthand, but the victims' accounts are so similar and in such volume that they're hard to deny. Now we haven't just lost our iconic TV father, we've lost our iconic TV mother, too. It's never been more clear that Phylicia Rashad is not Clair Huxtable, and if Clair heard what Rashad had to say on the matter, she'd be pretty disgusted, too.
Because even though Rashad and Clair aren't the same person, they feel like the same person, so the idea that such a strong female role model wouldn't instantly jump to defend over a dozen women who have allegedly suffered in silence for so long is a particularly difficult pill to swallow. Clair Huxtable is a ferocious protector of female rights and is known to fight for what she believes in. This champion of social justice would know exactly what to say to put Rashad in her place, legacies be damned. If you're going to sexually abuse anyone, your legacy no longer matters or exists.
And had Dr. Huxtable been the abuser, not Bill Cosby, there's no doubt in my mind that Clair wouldn't defend his actions, whether he was "important to the culture" or not.
Rashad is certainly not the first former Cosby Show cast member to defend Cosby, and the way things are going, I'm willing to bet she's also not the last. Strap in, everyone — more disappointments are likely ahead.
Meanwhile, Cosby's lawyer's initial statement about the allegations hasn't changed.
Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives.