The Jussie Smollett drama started out bad and has only gotten progressively worse. Last week, the Empire actor was arrested and charged by authorities in Chicago for filing a false police report after allegedly staging a hate crime against himself.
The evidence seems overwhelming with the two men who allegedly perpetrated the attack telling police they were hired by Smollett and providing receipts for the rope and masks used in the assault and a cheque Smollett gave them for $3,500. Despite all that, however, Jussie’s onscreen dad, Terrence Howard, is still supporting and defending his son.
On Sunday, Howard posted a video of Jussie to Instagram with the caption, “All your lil homies got you… We love the hell outta you.”
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The post, understandably, sparked an online frenzy with people questioning Howard’s unwavering support. In response to one commenter’s criticism, the actor wrote a lengthy message saying it isn’t anyone’s place to judge Smollett and that Jussie couldn’t possibly be capable of doing what the police allege.
“Sorry you feel that way but that’s the only Jussie I know. The Jussie I know could never even conceive of something so unconscious and ugly,” Howard wrote. “His innocence or judgment is not for any of us to decide. Stay in your lane and my lane is empathy and love and compassion for someone I’ve called my son for five years. It’s God’s job to judge and it’s ours to love and hope, especially for those that we claim to have loved.”
Smollett has maintained his innocence since people first began questioning his story earlier this month. He claims that two masked men attacked him in the early morning on January 29th, beat him, wrapped a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him and called him racist and homophobic slurs before yelling, “This is MAGA country.” He reported the incident shortly after it happened.
A number of inconsistencies and suspicious details slowly led portions of the public to question the accuracy of Smollett’s account. Most notably, people found it suspicious that there was no footage of the attack since Chicago has an extensive surveillance system.
Last week, Chicago PD shared that Smollett had become a suspect in his own case and a few days later, they arrested the actor. Smollett still claims the assault was not a hoax but after posting his $100,000 bail, he returned to the set of Empire to apologize to the cast and crew for all the drama this has caused. After the arrest, Fox made the decision to remove Jussie’s character, Jamal Lyon, from the rest of the season, but said they were still weighing options with regards to the ultimate future of the character.