Bill Cosby hoagie denier Phylicia Rashad has come forward to wag yet another disapproving finger, this time in the faces of the 27-and-counting women who have accused her former TV husband of sexual assault. “Forget these women,” Rashad told Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman yesterday—though she more accurately called on the public to forget them again, as it had after every report, lawsuit, and insinuation against Cosby prior to 2014.
Echoing sentiments that have been expressed by other members of Cosby’s family, both real and fictional, Rashad said she had never witnessed the side of the comedian that so many women claim to have seen, and openly dismissed out of hand the stories of Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson. “Oh please,” Rashad reportedly said when their names were brought up, presumably giving Friedman one of those signature raised eyebrows that are so effective for shutting down both teenage boys who want to buy a motorcycle, or women making graphically detailed rape allegations over the course of two decades.
In denying the veracity of those accusations, Rashad also aligned herself firmly on the side of Cosby truthers—those who believe that the allegations represent a vast conspiracy to bring the towering Cosby down, for reasons that are not entirely clear.
“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,” Rashad said of the memory of a guy who had a popular TV show, which she believes is now being irreparably tarnished, 23 years after that it left the air, in a way The Cosby Mysteries did not already accomplish.
Rashad further believes this shadowy cadre will go to any length to unfairly deny this septuagenarian his 15th television show, saying, “Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV. And it’s worked. All his contracts have been canceled.” But more importantly, she laments that these harrowing stories of rape must have caused irreparable damage to the families—specifically, the fake Cosby Show family. “This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family,” Rashad said. “And now you’re seeing it being destroyed. Why?”
Offering at least three more answers to Rashad’s question, Gloria Allred has scheduled another press conference for today in Los Angeles, where USA Today reports she plans to introduce three new women who say that Cosby assaulted them. It’s unclear whether they will also reveal why they don’t want people to watch The Cosby Show.
Meanwhile, Cosby himself continues to remain publicly silent on the matter—something Rashad says she understands, asking rhetorically, “If he spoke now, what do you think the media would do with it?” (Speaking for The A.V. Club, I’d report it as part of a daily, grudging obligation to follow this terrible story until it reaches its inevitably unsatisfactory conclusion.) But he has issued one statement today, telling ticket-holders to tonight’s show, the first of three scheduled for Ontario, “I plan to give fans the show of their life.”
Of course, before those fans can have their lives utterly rocked by gentle observations about marriage, they’ll have to cross through an estimated 130 or so protestors organized in part by the London Abused Women’s Centre, who plan to stage a peaceful demonstration outside the venue. And according to the London Free Press, other unidentified groups have already made plans known to disrupt Cosby’s performance from inside—something that arguably would make for the show of anyone’s life, including Cosby’s own.
Still, Cosby—as always—has a plan in place: “Remain calm and do not confront the person making the disruption,” he added in his statement, a policy he’s also adhered to offstage, preferring to let the people he’s provided with financial support take care of that for him.