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Phylicia Rashad claims she was misquoted about Bill Cosby's accusers

Clockwise from top left: Lisa Bonet as Denise

Clockwise from top left: Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable, Sabrina Le Beauf as Sondra Huxtable, Tempest Bledsoe as Vanessa Huxtable, Malcolm Jamal-Warner as Theodore Huxtable, Phylicia Rashad as Clair Huxtable, Keshia Knight Pulliam as Rudy Huxtable and Bill Cosby as Dr. Cliff Huxtable in "The Cosby Show," which ran from 1986-1992. Credit: NBC

Bill Cosby's former TV wife, Phylicia Rashad, Wednesday denied she had said, "Forget these women," in reference to numerous women's recent allegations that Cosby had drugged and raped them in decades past.

It "was a misquote, and that is not what I said," Rashad, 66, told ABC News. "What I said is, 'this is not about the women. This is about something else. This is about the obliteration of legacy.' " She insisted, "I am a woman. I would never say such a thing."

Roger Friedman of reported at a Manhattan luncheon Tuesday for the movie, "Selma," Rashad had said, "Forget these women. . . . 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."

Following a swell of social-media criticism of Rashad, but before her claim of being misquoted, Friedman tweeted, "She has every right to defend her friend. No matter what the allegations are. Never an arrest. She is a very brave woman. All the celebs attacking her -- Cosby could be you. Imagine a Kafka-like avalanche, guilty or not. Be fair." Friedman did not respond to Newsday requests for comment.

Rashad confirmed to ABC she told Friedman she believes the women's complaints are part of a conspiracy "to keep Bill Cosby off TV." When asked who would have a vested interest in that, she said, "That's my question, too." Regarding the allegations, she told ABC, "I had never heard that before and I can't even speak to those things and don't want to."

Attorney Gloria Allred held a news conference Wednesday introducing three more accusers. Cosby, who has never been charged in connection with any of the claims, got a standing ovation at his Kitchener, Ontario, show Wednesday night, but protesters outside braved below-freezing weather to shame ticket-holders.

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