The future of Jussie Smollett’s acting career remains in question since he was nearly charged with filing a false police report, but his “Empire” co-stars have now made it clear they want to see Smollett back in action in front of cameras.
Smollett claimed earlier this year that he was attacked by two white Trump supporters wearing Make America Great Again hats. The actor, who is an outspoken critic of the president, said the men attacked him in the early morning hours in Chicago and put a noose around his neck.
He also said the men directed homophobic and racist language at him — Smollett is a black and gay man.
Smollett’s story fell apart as the police began investigating the claims. His own account of events changed multiple times, and two Nigerian brothers eventually came forward to say they helped Smollett stage the crime. The brothers had been extras on “Empire.”
Though Chicago police said they believed Smollett was guilty of staging the hate crime, the criminal charges against the actor were eventually dropped by the District Attorney’s office. Smollett could have been facing years in prison, but he instead only needed to pay a $10,000 fine and do a few hours of community service.
Smollett has maintained his innocence through his lawyers, a move that has led to the two Nigerian brothers allegedly hired by Smollett — Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo and Abimbola ‘Bola’ Osundairo — to sue Smollett’s lawyers for defamation.
Source: Fox News
Smollett has not returned to his long-running gig on “Empire” since the controversy and his future on the series is in question.
Creator Lee Daniels said Smollett’s future on the show is “in discussions” at Fox, which was recently purchased by Disney.
Smollett’s cast has now signed a letter calling the actor “honest” and sent it to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chair Dana Walden, Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn, Lee Daniels, and “Empire” co-creator Danny Strong, among others.
Smollett’s fellow cast-mates call him a man of “integrity” in their letter.
“Throughout ‘Empire’s’ five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character,” reads the letter. “He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity.”
The letter continues, “He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”
This is where the letter almost becomes satirical. Smollett was never proven “innocent” of any crime. It’s actually quite the opposite. Chicago police believed the actor to be guilty and even when charges were dropped against Smollett, there was no talk of the actor being “innocent.”
First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joseph Magats even told local media that he thought Smollett was guilty of staging the crime and that the charges being dropped were in no way an exoneration.
The letter then switches gears and gets political.
“It’s clearer every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our system of justice and the court of public opinion more unjust,” it reads.
This is the part of the letter that is most offensive. The “extreme political climate” in this country exists exactly because of people like Smollett. People like Smollett are so committed to their fantasies of standing up against big, bad racist Trump supporters that they’ll actually go out of their way to create false circumstances that give validation to their crazy worldview.
The letter in support of Smollett, which was signed by “Empire” stars like Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, went on to ask that Smollett return to the show in its sixth season, though the series has yet to be greenlit for another year.
In order for Smollett to be the “innocent” and “honest” man that his employees claim he is, the Chicago Police Department would need to be wrong, people in the District Attorney’s office need to be wrong, and a video showing the two Nigerian brothers buy gear to stage the alleged hate crime would need another explanation.
Anybody who says with assurance that Smollett is an innocent man needs to seriously reevaluate their definition of innocence.
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