Phylicia Rashad Defends Bill Cosby


Bill Cosby's on-screen wife is standing by her co-star.

Bill Cosby's on-screen wife Phylicia Rashad is standing by her co-star.

Starring as his wife for 12 years on The Cosby Show, Rashad refutes the multiple sexual abuse claims against her co-star. "Forget these women," she tells Showbiz 411. "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."

NEWS: Bill Cosby's Accusers: A Timeline of Alleged Sexual Assault Claims

Attempting to explain the numerous accusations, the 66-year-old actress adds, "Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV. And it's worked. All his contracts have been cancelled.”

Back in November, TV Land made the decision to pull re-runs of The Cosby Show, while other channels still continue to air the sitcom. "This show represented America to the outside world," Rashad says. "This was the American family. And now you're seeing it being destroyed. Why?"

Director Judd Apatow -- who's been adamant about venues canceling Cosby appearances in light of recent allegations -- took to Twitter to slam Rashad's support for her co-star, writing: "Phylicia- how many women need to be raped before you realize he destroyed his own legacy? 40? 50? For me it's one."

NEWS: Celebrity Apprentice Fires Keshia Knight Pulliam for Not Calling Bill Cosby

Apatow added: "'Forget these women.' She is worried about her SAG residuals disappearing if they are heard in court. Shameful."

Though she is taking a strong stand for Cosby -- she tells Showbiz 411 that she "loves him" -- the Tony winner added, "I don't want to become part of the public debate."

VIDEO: Janice Dickinson Details Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Accusations: He Raped Me

Rashad goes on to dismiss the claims made by models Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson that Cosby was inappropriate with them, saying, "Oh, please."

NEWS: Bill Cosby Speaks Out, Addresses Media

As for Cosby's real-life wife Camille, Rashad says she has nothing but respect for her. "This is a tough woman, a smart woman," she said. "She's no pushover."

When asked why Cosby hasn't spoken out, Rashad ponders, "If he spoke now, what do you think the media would do with it?"

What do you think of Rashad's quotes about Cosby? Tweet #ETnow and speak out in the comments below.