Rudy found it plain rude! Keshia Knight Pulliam appeared on the Today show on Monday, Jan. 5 — the morning after it was revealed that she was the first contestant to be fired from the 14th season of The Celebrity Apprentice because she had refused to reach out to her former costar Bill Cosby for a donation.
“I know The Cosby Show is in reruns,” said Pulliam, 35, who played Rudy Huxtable on the show. “And everyone thinks that we’re this family that has dinner every Friday night.” The truth, however, couldn’t be further from that image.
“The reality was I hadn’t spoken to Mr. Cosby,” she revealed to Savannah Guthrie. “I felt that it would be tactless, very rude, to call someone and be like, ‘Hey, so, let me have some money right now.'”
On the Sunday, Jan. 5 episode (which was taped last March, before the sexual assault allegations against Cosby surfaced), Pulliam was tasked with raising money for her charity Kamp Kizzy. She was made project manager for the endeavor, but was fired by Donald Trump after she refused to pull personal strings for the sake of the charity-based initiative.
Pulliam later explained in the boardroom that she and Cosby hadn’t spoken in five years. “For me to pick up the phone having not talked to you for five years, except for when we run into each other for a Cosby event, I feel that’s not my place to do,” she confessed.
As for the current allegations made against her former on-screen father? “What I can say is this: I wasn’t there,” Pulliam insisted on the Today show. “No one was there except for the two people who know exactly what happened. All I can speak to is the man that I know and I love.”
She went on to further address the assault claims made by more than 20 women including ’80s supermodels Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson, who both claimed that Cosby drugged them in separate incidents.
“Ultimately, they’re just that, allegations,” Pulliam told Guthrie. “You know, it’s very much been played out in the court of public opinion. But we’re still in America, where ultimately you’re innocent until proven guilty. I wasn’t there. That’s just not the man I know. So I can’t speak to it.”
She added that the Cosby she knew was a role model to millions of fans, including herself. “The fact that he’s been such an example, you can’t take away from the great that he has done,” she said. “You know, the amount… the millions and millions of dollars that he has given back to colleges and education, and just what he did with The Cosby Show and how groundbreaking that was.”
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