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Actress Phylicia Rashad poses wth her 2004 Tony Award for best leading actress in a play for "A Raisin in the Sun" at The American Theater Wing's 58th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, June 6, 2004.RAY STUBBLEBINE/Reuters

Phylicia Rashad, who played Bill Cosby's wife on The Cosby Show, spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday about the controversy surrounding the comedian.

At a luncheon in New York to celebrate the new movie Selma, Rashad defended Cosby to Showbiz411 columnist Roger Friedman.

"Forget these women," she said.

For Rashad, the more than 20 women who have come forward to allege Cosby sexually assaulted them are part of a conspiracy to undermine the 77-year-old's place in culture.

"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," Rashad said.

She added, "Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV. And it's worked. All his contracts have been cancelled."

When Friedman mentioned the accusations of Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson, the supermodels who have alleged that Cosby assaulted them, Rashad offered nothing more than, "Oh please."

Cosby is scheduled to perform in Kitchener, Ont., on Wednesday night. It is the first of three shows he is set to perform in the province this week. He's promised fans the "show of their life."

Protests are expected at all three of Cosby's Ontario performances.

In her conversation with Friedman, Rashad discussed the importance of The Cosby Show and hinted again at a conspiracy to undermine it.

"This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family. And now you're seeing it destroyed. Why?" she asked.

The accusations against Cosby haven't been proven in a court of law, but as more and more women step forward, the court of public opinion seems to have given its verdict.

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