It’s been a wobbly year for Jussie Smollet, Empire’s star. From appearing as the victim of a hate crime in January, getting arrested for allegedly staging the whole homophobic and racist attack in February, to facing a 16 count felony charge in March 2019. Before the end of March, another shocking twist surfaced: all felony charges against the Empire actor were dismissed.
The actor denied this accusation but evidence stacked up against him proved otherwise. More befuddling is the confession of the two men, brothers actually, who supposedly assaulted him. Turned out Jussie Smollet allegedly paid both of them a sum of $3500 to stage the whole thing. This particular act more than anything else is what’s nailed his coffin in the black community, in Fox network Hip Hop drama Empire, and what could make him spend 64 years of his life behind bars.
If Jussie Smollet actually staged the January attack, he not only made the police run a wild goose chase, he also exploited the anger and pain of racism for his selfish gains. He remains adamant about his innocence though, even while evidence against him screamed guilty and after being indicted. What or who should we believe? The news that the attack was staged, did come came as a shock to many, one of whom is Tyler Perry who wrote on his Instagram page that Jussie Smollet doesn’t seem like
“…the kind of person who would make up such a horrible and awful thing.”
Well, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, they gave Smollet the benefit of the doubt “up until the 47th hour” when evidence suggested otherwise. Jussie, as of March 8th, was indicted by a Cook County grand jury, on 16 felony counts. Hardly anyone thought the icon would come back from this—the verdict had been declared after all.
But then, after Jussie appeared in a Chicago courtroom for an emergency hearing on the 26th of March, he emerged free of all charges. Jussie Smollett’s attorneys released a statement that read:
“record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him.”
“Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment,”
While this news came as a delight to Jussie Smollet’s family who believes that “truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated,” and to 20th Century Fox Television who said they were “gratified” that the charges were dropped, the decision didn’t go down well with quite a number of people. Most of all, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel who blasted the decision, saying
“This is without a doubt, a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you are in a position of influence and power you’ll get treated one way, other people will be treated another way, “
However, Jussie Smollett insists that he has never lied from the beginning. According to him, “this has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly, one of the worst of my life,” he said, during a news conference.
Well, the court of people’s opinion is yet to let go. Despite all the surprising turn of events, Jussie Smollett’s morality remains on a scale. Is he guilty or not, and what’s next?