Jussie Smollett was ‘mortified’ by the social media response to his arrest after being accused of staging a hate crime

Jussie Smollett, mortified, social media, hate crime, Empire, actor

Jussie Smollett is letting the public know that Google was not his friend following his much-publicized arrest. The Empire actor was arrested after an alleged attack on him that took place in January 2019, which he reported as a hate crime, was determined to be a hoax staged by Smollett. Jussie continues to maintain that his story was true and now he’s saying he was “mortified” by the social media response to his arrest after he was accused of staging the hate crime.

During a new interview with Sway’s Universe, Smollett reflected on everything that has happened to him since the incident and he still maintains his innocence, despite compelling evidence that he really didn’t tell the truth. He does regret how he handled the accusations that he was lying, beginning with the controversial interview he did with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts. He believes that he should have conducted himself much differently in retrospect:

“I didn’t wanna do an interview… I love and respect Robin Roberts… I did not want to do that interview. That interview wasn’t for me, that was for my character… I watched it and I was mortified. I mean, I was mortified. I mean, I cringed at just the, every single word that I said in that interview was the truth, but there was a certain level of performative nature that came from it because I didn’t want to be there. I was so angry and so offended that I had to go on national television and explain something that happened to me. And it was so political, and it was all of those things, and I found myself dealing with my own internalized homophobia.”

Smollett’s original story suggested he was assaulted by two masked men that allegedly spouted off racial and homophobic slurs during a physical attack. When the story initially broke, there was a huge outpouring of support for the actor as many believed he was the victim of a hate crime. Meanwhile, Chicago police weren’t buying Smollett’s story and after a subsequent investigation, the assailants were identified as two Nigerian brothers with whom Jussie worked on Fox’s Empire. The siblings, named Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, later claimed that Smollett paid them to help stage a hoax attack as a publicity stunt for the actor because he was concerned about his status on the hit series as its popularity began to fade in later seasons. A jury would ultimately agree with Chicago police that there was enough evidence to support those claims and the actor was found guilty of five counts of felony disorderly conduct in December 2021. Smollett was sentenced to serve 150 days in country jail but was released days later pending an appeal.

The court of public opinion turned on Smollett as many believed that he did indeed lie about the attack. As the controversy peaked, the actor is claiming that he didn’t know the social media response to his arrest was so bad, which was mostly intense public ridicule towards Smollett. What pained Jussie the most was that certain people he was close to also didn’t buy his story:

“When I say I was shut off from the world, I was shut off from the world. I was not allowed to get on social media. (I Googled myself) about a year later. Worst idea ever. I really saw what it was and it was so painful. Cause I was like, ‘Ooh, he said that about me. Oh my God. Oh, she said that. What?”

Smollett did get profound support from his Empire co-star Taraji P. Henson, who stood by him despite the claims. The actor admits that he’d just spoken to the Oscar-nominated actress and considers her a best friend for not turning on him:

“I was just with Taraji the day before yesterday in Atlanta. That is my heart. My heart, we had the best time we went to brunch. I love that woman. It is unexplainable how much I love that woman and she is literally one of my best friends in the whole world.”

All I will say is I hope Smollett gets some kind of clarity from this experience. As an African American male myself, I personally still don’t buy his story and think he played a card that one should not be played unless it’s 100% valid. Once he decided he didn’t want to give up his cell phone to the police following the attack, I began to feel something was fishy and the subsequent evidence did nothing to change my mind. What happens with Smollett now is all up to him and all I can say is I hope he does better with his second chance.

Source: Sway's Universe

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