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Thank You Janet Hubert for Calling Out Phylicia Rashad’s Awful Tweet About Bill Cosby

"Get your umbrella sista here comes the sh*t shower."

Janet Hubert

Yesterday, Bill Cosby was released from his pathetically low prison sentence. While most of the people I follow reacted in anger and hurt, I sometimes forget that there’s an entire subsect of folks who are happy to see him go free even after 60 women came forward about Cosby’s sexual assault.

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One of these people is Phylicia Rashad, aka, Cosby’s TV wife Clair Huxtable.

Throughout the Cosby case, many people, especially in the Black community, have talked about the disappointment of finding out the truth about “America’s Dad.” Along with that comes the realization that the Black mom you watched stand with that dad is also a disappointment. Not only is she not gonna hold dad accountable for actions he’s been found guilty of (despite countless lessons of the contrary in that beloved sitcom), she’s gonna celebrate him not having to be held responsible for what he did.

For some strange reason I can’t quite put my finger on, the ability to comment on Rashad’s tweet has been limited to the people that Rashad follows. All … two of them. I wonder what would make someone do such a thing if they feel so strongly about celebrating the release of a man who has admitted to purchasing drugs to give to women so he could have sex with them.

Rashad would later make another tweet to “support survivors” because, as we all know, the best way to support survivors is to write in all caps FINALLY when a known abuser is freed from an already laughably short sentence—I say sarcastically, gritting my teeth when thinking about how this Black woman sent this “miscarriage of justice” tweet with her whole chest.

Many have commented on how disappointing it is to see Rashad’s tweets. One of these commenters includes The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Aunt Viv herself, Janet Hubert.

While it’s important that we continue to point out how absurd it is that Cosby is now a free man, it’s also important to call out his supporters, the ones bold enough to celebrate his release—even if they claim to have a “heartfelt wish” of healing for survivors. The act of Cosby being released is a huge blow, but it’s made even more insidious when we see tweets from the very demographic he hurt that shout FINALLY about him being freed. Tweets like Rashad’s enable abusers to keep thriving and send a message to survivors that their voices don’t matter to them.

Rashad needs to be told about herself and Hubert did exactly that.

But Hubert didn’t stop there.

When some pointed out her comment about how everyone knew what Cosby was doing back then, they asked why she never said anything herself.

The answer? She DID.

I’m so glad Ms. Hubert had time today.

The fact that people are even challenging her words proves her point. Black women are expected to be champions who keep up the fight, but depending on who they’re speaking against, their words go unheard. Comments that try and shift the blame on a Black woman because “why didn’t you speak up” is the very reason why so many DON’T speak up. We’re always made to feel at fault for the harm done to us.

It’s a vicious cycle that never ends, one that was plainly seen when Hurbert mentioned knowing 5 women who decided to not come forward because they feared they wouldn’t be believed.

If we speak up immediately, we’re liars trying to bring a man down.

If we speak up later, when we’re feeling confident enough to do so, or inspired by others who are brave enough to tell their story, then we’re told we’re doing it for attention.

If we don’t speak up, then it’s our fault for not saying anything at all.

What Cosby defenders seem to be missing is that Cosby wasn’t let go because he’s innocent, he was let go over a technicality.

According to CNN, “The panel of Pennsylvania State Supreme Court judges said in their opinion that a former Montgomery County district attorney’s decision to not prosecute Cosby in 2005 in return for his deposition in a civil case was ultimately used against him at trial. ‘In light of these circumstances, the subsequent decision by successor D.A.s to prosecute Cosby violated Cosby’s due process rights,’ the judges wrote.”

To me, this makes Rashad’s tweet even worse than it already was. It’s not like Cosby was released because he was found innocent or there was some kind of exonerating evidence. His being released over a technicality still means that he’s guilty, which means you’re celebrating a repeat offender of sexual assault, one who has, again, admitted to buying drugs to use on women, one who was sentenced to serve time in prison because of his violent acts.

Women like Rashad are why so many victims stay silent and don’t feel safe in telling their stories, even to other women. If we’re going to stand with survivors that means holding abusers accountable.

Rashad wasn’t willing to do that, which is why I’m glad Hubert spoke up about her. I don’t expect Rashad to learn much from this (as her “support survivors” tweet doesn’t negate that FINALLY tweet, nor did she really apologize for it), but I do hope that in seeing Hubert’s tweets people see that yes, you should NOT be celebrating right now.

This isn’t a moment of victory for the Black community, but a reminder that if you’re influential enough, people will celebrate you being a deplorable person who used your status to abuse others.

(Image: HBO Max)

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Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)

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