Phylicia Rashad Defends Bill Cosby: It's "Declaration in the Media of Guilt Without Proof"

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Phylicia Rashad

The actress claims she was misquoted when she was reported earlier this week as saying "Forget these women" about Cosby's accusers

Phylicia Rashad appeared on ABC's World News Tonight on Wednesday to clarify her recent comments in defense of longtime co-star and friend Bill Cosby

Rashad, who shared the screen with Cosby on NBC's The Cosby Show and CBS' Cosby, told ABC's Linsey Davis that the women who have accused the actor of sexual abuse do not appear to have sufficient evidence to back up their claims.

Read more Two More Women Join Bill Cosby Defamation Lawsuit

"What has happened is declaration in the media of guilt without proof," said the 66-year-old Tony-winning actress. 

She said she never heard anything about abuse claims while she was working with Cosby. "I can't even speak to those things and don't want to," she said of the allegations, pointing out that she has always known Cosby to be a kind man.

Rashad was quoted Tuesday by Showbiz 411 as saying about the accusers: "Forget these women." But she told Davis that this was a misquote. 

Read more Bill Cosby Breaks Silence Amid Allegations: "Black Media" Should Stay "Neutral"

"What I said is, 'This is not about the women.' ... This is about the obliteration of legacy," Rashad said. She added about the reported quote: "I am a woman — I would never say such a thing." 

Rashad told Showbiz 411 that the "destruction of [Cosby's] legacy" is being "orchestrated" by someone other than the accusers. When Davis asked Rashad who might want to ruin Cosby's career, the actress replied: "That's my question, too."

In a Wednesday press conference, attorney Gloria Allred introduced three new Cosby accusers and called out Rashad for her Tuesday remarks. "Phylicia, you should be supporting these women rather than joining Cosby's paid 'attack dogs' who are trying to undermine them in any way they can," Allred told the media. 

Cosby has largely remained silent about the numerous decades-old allegations that have resurfaced in recent months. His legal team has denied the claims and questioned the accusers' credibility.

The segment can be seen below.  

Twitter: @_RyanGajewski