Jussie Smollett’s Brother Pens Op-Ed In His Defense Amid Scandal

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images.
Jussie Smollett’s family is standing with him in the wake of his alleged hate crime.
On Saturday, Jussie’s older brother Jojo penned an op-ed in BET in defense of his brother. In it, he wrote that he believes Jussie is innocent and that he’s been treated unfairly by the city of Chicago.
"Is that all it takes to destroy a lifelong dedication to one’s craft and community? Is it really that easy to convince the world of a person’s guilt?" Jojo asked in the op-ed. "Is that all it takes to turn someone’s life upside down in America? Simply ask yourself this, ‘What if Jussie is telling the truth?’”
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In January, the Empire actor told police he had been attacked on a Chicago street by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him, placed a rope around his neck, and doused him with an unknown chemical substance. On February 20, he was arrested for disorderly conduct and filing a false police report, though the charges were later dropped. Jussie and his family have maintained his innocence throughout the case.
“Like so many others, this entire process quickly devolved from a focus on him as a victim of assault, to him being falsely accused and held responsible for a crime that was perpetrated against him,” Jojo wrote. “To define this experience as unjust would be an understatement.”
He also emphasized that Jussie knows how important his presence as a Black, openly gay man on network TV is, and would not have abused his position. “Television has never shown an openly gay, African American man, freely illustrating the depth and range of character, like Jussie’s portrayal of Jamal Lyon on Empire,” he wrote. “My brother takes serious what he represents.”
Jussie is currently being sued by the city of Chicago for $130,000, the amount authorities allegedly spent in overtime pay to investigate his case, according to People. Newly released emails and text messages from Cook County state’s attorney Kim Foxx’s office, meanwhile, reveal she thought the conduct charges were too harsh, per Deadline.
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