TORONTO — Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off television, his former TV wife said Tuesday night.
Phylicia Rashad, who played Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show for 10 seasons, told Showbiz 411 she never saw Cosby do anything that would make her believe the sexual abuse allegations against him.
More than a dozen women have come forward in recent months with decades-old claims. Cosby has never been criminally charged and none of the allegations against him have been proven in court.
“Forget these women,” Rashad, 66, said. “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.”
(UPDATE: In an interview with Nightline, Rashad claimed she was misquoted. “What I said is, ‘this is not about the women. This is about something else. This is about the obliteration of legacy.'” She insisted she did not say “Forget these women.” Rashad told Nightline: “I am a woman. I would never say such a thing.”)
Asked specifically about the claims of TV personality Janice Dickinson and model Beverly Johnson, Rashad replied: “Oh, please.”
Rashad continued: “Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV and it’s worked. All his contracts have been cancelled.”
Cosby’s lawyer Martin Singer has said the comedian will not talk about the accusations.
“The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity,” he said in a statement in November. “It is long past time for this media vilification of Mr. Cosby to stop.”
Rashad said Cosby is likely not addressing the allegations directly because “if he spoke now, what do you think the media would do with it.”
One of Cosby’s TV daughters, Keshia Knight Pulliam — who played Rudy Huxtable — also defended the 77-year-old star this week.
“Everyone has formed their opinion but we’re still in America and you’re innocent until proven guilty of any crimes,” she told Access Hollywood.