Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison and has been serving time at Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution at Phoenix.
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Reactions from showbiz types were swift and fierce.
Phylicia Rashad who played Cosby’s TV wife on The Cosby Show wrote in support of the incarcerated comedian: “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”
Later in the day, after backlash on social media, Rashad tied to walk back her comments writing, “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.”
Amber Tamblyn, who has been public about being sexually assaulted herself, wrote, “I am furious to hear this news. I personally know women who this man drugged and raped while unconscious. Shame on the court and this decision.”
Likewise E. Jean Carroll, the columnist who has accused Donald Trump of raping her, wrote, “This is why women don’t come forward.”
Comedian Eddie Griffin posted an emphatic, “Bill Cosby is free!!! Thoughts?”
Rosie O’Donnell wrote, “I GUESS 70 WOMEN WERENT ENOUGH – f*ck u bill.”
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents a number of Cosby’s accusers, issued the following statement:
This decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today to overturn the conviction of Bill Cosby must be devastating for Bill Cosby’s accusers. My heart especially goes out to those who bravely testified in both of his criminal cases. I represented a majority of the prior bad act accusers who testified. Despite the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision, this was an important fight for justice and even though the court overturned the conviction on technical grounds, it did not vindicate Bill Cosby’s conduct and should not be interpreted as a statement or a finding that he did not engage in the acts of which he has been accused.
Said Anita Hill, chair of The Hollywood Commission:
The Cosby ruling demonstrates how failures in our criminal justice systems make accountability for sexual assault impossible. Questionable non-prosecution agreements are only one problem. Also troubling is the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling left open the question of whether evidence provided by five women to show a pattern of abuse was admissible. For decades, victims and survivors have called for reform in the way sexual assault cases are handled by police and prosecutors. But the dire need for improvement to our systems isn’t limited to criminal prosecutions. Sexual assault, harassment and extortion happens in workplaces every day. Systems that ensure accountability for powerful abusers, protect workers and prevent agreements that shield abusers are urgently needed in entertainment and other industries.
Time’s Up Foundation CEO and President Tina Tchen weighed in saying in part:
…let’s be clear, even the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision did not challenge the finding of the jury that Bill Cosby committed sexual assault. To the survivors in this case, each of you came forward with great courage against a powerful man at great personal risk. We were standing with you then and we’re here standing next to you now. We are holding you up in this deeply painful moment. We will continue to fight for and with you, and hope this decision won’t discourage you or others from continuing in the fight to end sexual violence. Your bravery and resolve will not be in vain.
Women in Film also released the following:
Today’s news is a setback in the fight for justice for sexual assault survivors. When the system disregards dozens of accusers in a situation like this—because of a technical loophole, not because of the proof that led to sentencing—it creates the perception that it’s “not worth it” for victims to come forward. We strongly support all sexual assault survivors hearing this news today. We call on everyone in a position of power in the screen industries to put an end to the culture of silence and acceptance that allowed Cosby to prey on so many women.
The WIF Help Line (855) 943-5463 is available to anyone in the entertainment industry who has experienced abuse or harassment at work.
See all the reactions below.