Phylicia Rashad, the incoming dean of Howard University's College of Fine Arts, sent an apology email to the school's students and parents after backlash over comments she made about former co-star Bill Cosby's release.
"I offer my most sincere apology. I have since removed that upsetting tweet," Rashad wrote in an email shared to Twitter.
Phylicia Rashad has sent an apology letter to Howard University students over her Bill Cosby tweet:— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) July 2, 2021
She says she plans to “participate in trainings” to become a stronger ally to survivors pic.twitter.com/sF7fl7m8FW
She acknowledged that the tweet she shared this week, in which she praised the court’s decision to overturn the disgraced comedian's conviction, "caused so much hurt in so many people."
Rashad continued her apology email, stating that she "vehemently" opposes sexual violence of any kind. In order to win back the trust of the Howard community, Rashad plans to participate in training programs on sexual assault and university protocol.
"The most important role I have ever played in my life is that to mother of my children," Rashad wrote. "Though they are adults now, I still feel that primal instinct to protect them. This is the same feeling that I hold for Howard University and each of her students."
Rashad's apology email comes after she sparked a firestorm of criticism this week when she tweeted that "a terrible wrong is being righted" the day Cosby was released from prison.
Rashad wrote a follow-up tweet on Wednesday after drawing pushback earlier.
“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing,” she wrote.
Howard University followed with a statement pushing back on Rashad, who starred alongside Cosby on the hit television sitcom "The Cosby Show."
"Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies," the statement read. "We will continue to advocate for survivors fully and support their right to be heard."
Cosby, was sentenced to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constad, who was employed at Temple University at the time of the alleged incident.
Cosby had served two years in prison when his conviction was overturned, and he was released from prison this week.
In its decision to overturn the conviction, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court cited his past agreement with a former prosecutor that promised Cosby's testimony on the charges wouldn't be used against the actor.
The court overturned the conviction and blocked the case from further prosecution.
"The only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system," the court stated Wednesday.