Veteran actress, Phylicia Rashad, is fondly remembered for playing Clair Huxtable, a character that was inspired by the wife of disgraced actor and comedian, Bill Cosby, for his highly popular eponymous sitcom between 1984 and 1992.
The Cosby Show’s success and legacy were, however, significantly tarnished after numerous women came out to accuse the actor of sexual assault and misconduct dating back to several years. In 2018, Cosby, 83, was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison on three counts of aggravated assault for drugging and sexually assaulting former basketball player, Andrea Constand, in his home in 2004. Cosby’s case was one of the first high-profile celebrity convictions of the #MeToo era.
The allegations against the actor and his eventual conviction, was also followed with him losing several honors and business partnerships as well as people shelving his sitcom and anything that has to do with him. A price to pay for his alleged transgressions, Cosby’s former television wife, however, said she doesn’t know why people wouldn’t want to watch The Cosby Show any longer in a recent interview with Bustle.
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“I don’t know why anybody would feel that way,” Rashad, 72, said when she was asked what she might tell such people. “I just don’t accept what somebody says because they say it, and they say it in a loud voice. The internet has given a lot of anonymous people a very loud voice. And this, too, has happened before.”
The award-winning actress then went ahead to compare Cosby’s situation to that of Zora Neale Hurston – the anthropologist and novelist who was an instrumental figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the early 1920s.
“Zora Neale Hurston died a pauper,” she said. Hurston faced public fallout when she was accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy, although it was later found that she was out of the country at the time of the alleged crime.
“You should go back and look at some charges that were brought up against her that didn’t make any sense. And look at what happened when the judge had thrown out the case, but it had gone through [Black magazines], through this step and the other, and her books were taken off the shelf,” Rashad told the interviewer.
Hurston eventually died alone and poor in 1960 after struggling to get her works published; and was buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida.
“And so I know what I know, and I just stay with what I know,” Rashad, who has previously expressed support for Cosby despite the allegations, said. “And it will happen in time, that this will come around another way, as it often does. And then people say, ‘Oh.’”
The actress was, however, coy when she was asked if she was insinuating her former TV husband’s issue wasn’t over.
“I don’t know what’s over,” she replied. “There are some things I leave alone.”