Rashad starred alongside Cosby as Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” from 1984 – 1992. At that time, she was revered by many for portraying the matriarch of a successful Black, American family. However, a cloud has been cast over the show in recent years as Cosby has been accused by dozens of women of sexual abuse and misconduct.
Cosby has served more than two years of his three to 10-year prison sentence for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, whom he met through the basketball program at his alma mater, Temple University.
On Sunday, many were taking to Twitter to honor Rashad for being in the pantheon of positive sitcom moms in celebration of Mother’s Day. However, one user seized the opportunity to accuse the actress’ character of being an “enabler” to the real-life Cosby.
“Claire Huxtable was an enabler of the longest and most prolific drug rape predator In US history, Bill Cosby,” the user wrote in a since-deleted tweet (via TMZ). “Everyone on set knew he was a sadistic predator. Everyone. 75 women drugged and raped by Cosby and he got away with it because of enablers.”
Phylicia Rashad’s fans defended her from an online troll on Mother’s Day. (Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
Although Rashad herself hasn’t responded to the backlash, several of her fans were quick to rush to her defense as a Black role model on TV. In addition to fans being annoyed at the troll confusing and misspelling Clair Huxtable’s name with Rashad’s, many were quick to note that the 72-year-old actress had nothing to do with Cosby’s crimes.
“Neither Claire Huxtable or Phylicia Rashad are responsible for Bill Cosby’s actions. She was his co worker and employee not his supervisor or co conspirator in his crimes,” one user wrote.
“1) Claire Huxtable is a fictional character
2) Phylicia Rashad is an actress & not responsible for Bill Cosby’s actions. She worked with him professionally that’s it
3) Stop trying to blame a BW for this Rapist’s actions. Bill Cosby is responsible for his transgressions!” another added.
“I usually agree with you but not this time…First, Claire Huxtable was a character on a sitcom. The real-life actress who played her on The Cosby Show, Phylicia Rashad, knew nothing about Cosby’s abuse of women. Cosby was a Jekyll and Hyde personality with women,” another defender wrote.
Although Rashad’s fans are defending her from being lumped in with Cosby’s alleged history of sexual abuse, she has previously defended her former on-screen husband, most notably in a 2015 interview with ABC News in which she clarified previous statements in which she was quoted as saying “forget those women.”
Bill Cosby takes booking photo after entering prison on Tuesday. (Montgomery County Correctional Facility)
“That was a misquote, that is not what I said,” she clarified at the time. “What I said is this is not about the women. This is about something else. This is about the obliteration of legacy.”
Rashad maintained her position at the time that the allegations were false and that the women coming forward had an interest in tarnishing the comedian’s storied legacy in show business.