Keshia Knight Pulliam: Bill Cosby Was a “Great Man” to Me

Keisha Knight Pullam and Bill Cosby
Keisha Knight Pullam and Bill Cosby Theo Wargo/Getty Images; Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Actress and Celebrity Apprentice competitor Keshia Knight Pulliam has some complicated feelings about her former TV dad Bill Cosby

The Cosby Show alum, 35, was fired by host Donald Trump on the first episode of The Celebrity Apprentice 7 after she chose not to call Cosby, 77, for a favor. Pulliam was raising money for a challenge on the show and decided not to ask for a donation from the now-controversial star. 

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“Honestly, I had other donors that didn’t make it,” she said in an interview with Access Hollywood on Monday, Jan. 5. “If you understand the time constraints that you’re under, you have to have certified funds, we literally had about a day to turn around.”

keisha and donald
Donald Trump and Keshia Knight Pulliam attend the “Celebrity Apprentice” Red Carpet Event at Trump Tower on January 5, 2015 Mike Pont/FilmMagic

Trump, 68, axed Pulliam for her unwillingness to reach out for the favor in an episode that shot months before the allegations against Cosby dominated headlines. The Tyler Perry’s House of Payneactress told Access Hollywood that her decision was not based on the many women who have come forward with stories about sexual misconduct involving Cosby. 

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“I hadn’t talked to Mr. Cosby on the phone or in person in the last five years and it would have just been tacky to call him and say, ‘Oh yeah, by the way, you know, I need this money,'” she explained. “Honestly, had my other donors come through in time, I didn’t need that.”

Pulliam, who played Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show, went on to weigh in on the allegations made against the man who played her television father. 

Keisha Knight Pullam and Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show
Al Levine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

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“Ultimately, I really can’t speak to that,” she said of Cosby’s alleged sexual misconduct. “Whoever is involved, those are the people who were there. I wasn’t there. I can only speak to the great man that I know and that I love, who has been so generous, who has been such a philanthropist and giving back millions of dollars to education and to schools… and just the man I grew up knowing. It’s really not my place to speak on that. Unfortunately, in the court of public opinion everyone has formed their opinion, but we’re still in America and you’re innocent until proven guilty of any crimes.”

“He was awesome, he was the guy who made jokes with me to remember my lines,” she added of her time with Cosby in the 1980s and early 1990s. “He’s the man who inspired me to be such an entrepreneur… I feel that his legacy and all the great things that he’s done speak volumes… Everything that’s happened, it’s so unfortunate, the whole thing is very, very unfortunate but I can’t ignore the legacy that he’s built.”

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