Bill Cosby Returns to Stage for First Time Since November; Phylicia Rashad Says Her Defense Was Misquoted
Bill Cosby returned to the stage Wednesday night in Kitchener, Ontario—his first live performance since November.
Despite a small group of protesters outside the Center in the Square, Cosby "had a wonderful time," he told the audience. The 77-year-old comedian also issued a post-show statement to his fans, telling them, per NBC News, he wanted to "personally thank you for giving me the opportunity to bring laughter back into your lives tonight."
"Also, I would like to applaud all of you and give you a standing ovation for respecting yourselves, the theatre (Centre In The Square) and the event organizers that produced a spectacular show for the Kitchener Community," added Cosby.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, his former onscreen wife Phylicia Rashad defended the theCosby Show patriarch against the number of abuse allegations made against him by multiple women in recent months, telling Showbiz 411 we were witnessing "the destruction of a legacy." The entertainment website also quoted Rashad as saying, "Forget these women," about Cosby's accusers. Rashad, however, says she was falsely quoted as saying this.
"I am a woman. I would never say such a thing. I would never think such a thing," she told ABC News.
Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman Rashad's comments, writing, "Let me clear something. I did not misquote Phylicia Rashad. But she didn't mean for it to be taken the way it was, and I should have punctuated. There was NEVER the meaning in ‘Forget those women' that she was saying to actually forget or dismiss then. She meant, ‘those women aside'– as in, she's not talking about that, she's talking about Cosby's legacy being destroyed. It was conversational. Somehow this got twisted. I am really sorry if the way I presented it made it seem like either one of us was forgetting anyone. I've been at a hospice on and off for 10 says with a family friend of 40 years. So really, let's all calm down. What Phylicia was doing was defending her friend and his legacy. That's what she said, that's what I wrote, I'm sorry if it caused her grief. And no one asked me to write this. I'm just saying it because I like and respect her."
Noted. In Rashad's interview with ABC News, she clarified what it was she meant in the initial interview, saying, "My message is, what happens to a nation in which people knowingly and willfully disavow the tenets that describe the nation?...This is not about the women. This is about something else. This is about the obliteration of a legacy."
"We are really missing what is wrong here, which is, this is the United States of America. I know it's changing, but it's still the United States of America and there are tenets that we live by," said Rashad. "There is the Constitution of the United States, which ensures innocence until proof of guilt and that has not happened...But what has happened is declaration in the media of guilt, without proof. And a legacy is being destroyed because of it. It's being obliterated."
Rashad did not speak specifically about the women who have accused Cosby of sexual abuse, but she did described the man she knew as a "kind" and "generous" person.
"Speaking to the character of the man that I know, this has not been easy. This has not been easy at all but he's not a coward," she told ABC News. "I don't know what he will do in that way but I know that he won't be hiding. ... He likes being around people too much and he respects people."
Cosby and his legal team have consistently denied all allegations of sexual abuse made against him in the past, and the Cosby Show patriarch never been criminally charged in any case.
(E! and NBC are both parts of the NBCUniversal family.)
(Originally published Jan. 8, 2015 at 4:55 a.m. PT)