Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Ice-T was among those criticized for their responses to Bill Cosby's release from a Pennsylvania prison on Wednesday due to a technicality. Ice-T quickly deleted the tweet, which many found ironic because he plays a police officer who investigates sex crimes on television. Cosby's conviction on sexual assault charges was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court because the disgraced comedian previously reached a deal with a prosecutor in 2005 that would have prevented him from facing charges.
"Oh, s— Bill Cosby might be touching back down on the bricks... Hot boy summer," Ice-T tweeted. He deleted the tweet but has not posted another comment on the subject. However, he did retweet a fan who responded to the controversial tweet with a doctored image of Cosby with tattooed arms. "SMH," Ice-T wrote, referring to the abbreviation for "Shaking my head."
Ice-T was not the only actor to publish a controversial response to Cosby's release. Music producer Timbaland posted one of Cosby's old JELL-O advertisements on Instagram. "Who's wants a jello pudding pop I'm home now," he wrote in the since-deleted post, reports Variety. "Bill Cosby about to be free! City boy win summer 2021," comedian Lil Duval tweeted.
For many, the most disappointing response to Cosby's release came from Phylicia Rashad, who played his on-screen wife in The Cosby Show. She tweeted a photo of Cosby, adding, "FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!" She has since deleted the tweet, but published another one attempting to explain her support for Cosby's alleged victims. "I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth," Rashad wrote. "Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing."
Howard University, which recently appointed Rashad the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, said Rashad's initial tweet "lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault," but her follow-up acknowledged that "victims must be heard and believed." The university added, "Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies. We will continue to advocate for survivors fully and support their right to be heard. Howard will stand with survivors and challenge systems that would deny them justice. We have full confidence that our faculty and school leadership will live up to this sacred commitment."
Cosby was serving a three to 10-year sentence for raping Andrea Constand in 2004. He was first charged in 2015 and arrested just before the statute of limitations expired. His first trial ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict, but he was found guilty at the end of his 2018 trial. In the second trial, multiple accusers were allowed to testify against Cosby. On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction and he cannot be tried a third time. Over 60 women accused Cosby of raping and drugging them, with some allegations dating back to the 1960s.