Phylicia Rashad gives rare commentary on the subject of disgraced comedian and television star Bill Cosby, as well as the legacy of The Cosby Show, in a new interview for Bustle.
Writer Rebecca Carroll broached the subject with Rashad for the interview, asking what she thinks when people say they can’t watch The Cosby Show after Cosby’s conviction for sexual misconduct.
“I don’t know why anybody would feel that way,” Rashad said. “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.”
Rashad brought up Zora Neale Hurston’s career, which ended tragically when Hurston was falsely accused of child molestation, which resulted in her books being removed from stores for a period of time. As noted in the profile: According to a 2002 piece in The New York Times, in 1948, “a vindictive neighbor accused Hurston of sexual relations with her 10-year-old son. The charges were patently false — Hurston had been in Honduras at the time, and the boy was mentally unstable — but she was indicted, and the story leaked to a Black newspaper, which sensationalized it. … The case was finally thrown out, and, characteristically, Hurston rebounded to work on a final published novel, ‘Seraph on the Suwanee,’ and a unfinished nonfiction work called ‘Herod the Great’ that no publisher would touch.”
“Zora Neale Hurston died a pauper. And do you know why?” she said. When Carroll said she didn’t know, Rashad said, “Oh, you should do a little research on that.”
“You should go back and look at some of the charges that were brought up against her that didn’t make any sense,” she continued. “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…And so I know what I know, and I just stay with what I know. And it will happen in time, that this will come around another way, as it often does. And then people say, ‘Oh.'”
When asked when she thinks the tide will turn, Rashad admitted she wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know what’s over. There are some things I leave alone. I just leave them alone. I leave them alone.”
Cosby has been accused by multiple women in the entertainment, fashion and beauty industries of sexual assault, all of whom have similar stories, including details about being drugged prior to their assault. Cosby is currently serving three to 10 years in prison, with his appeal hearing scheduled for this December.
You can read the full profile of Rashad over at Bustle.
Photo: Getty Images