Phylicia Rashad was quoted as saying "forget these women" accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault yesterday as she defended her former TV husband, but last night she told ABC's Nightline those controversial words never came out of her mouth. "That was a misquote. That is not what I said. What I said is, this is not about the women. This is about something else. This is about the obliteration of legacy. That's what I said." She added, "I am a woman. I would never say such a thing. I would never think such a thing. I did not say that." She did not, however, back down from her defense of Cosby and her skepticism about the scandal. "My initial reaction to the allegations was, 'Hmm. Someone has a vested interest in preventing Mr. Cosby's return to network television,'" she said, adding that when she spoke to Cosby about the accusations, he told her, "The Internet has given some anonymous people a very loud voice."
As for Roger Friedman, who initially quoted Rashad on Showbiz 411, he responds to her latest comments: "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." He apologized and removed the line in question from his original article, explaining he did so "because it was misunderstood, and not for any other reason." And in a third column, he says he was "dismayed" by the attacks on Rashad that followed his first column. "She is a highly regarded dramatic actress, up there with Rosemary Harris and Angela Lansbury (not as old, certainly) and Janet McTeer—in the top tier," he wrote. "I do think if Meryl Streep or Glenn Close had said the same things about Bill Cosby, no [one] would have dared criticize them."