Hollywood actress Taraji P. Henson has spoken out in defense of jailed “Empire” star, Jussie Smollett.
“I am not here to debate you on his innocence,” Henson wrote. “But we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime. Emmett Till was brutally beat and ultimately murdered because of a lie, and none of the people involved with his demise spent one day in jail, even after Carolyn Bryant admitted that her claims were false.”
Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in country jail. He was also handed 30 months probation and was ordered to pay restitution to the city of Chicago.
“No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal. He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING! To me as an artist not able to create that in itself is punishment enough. He can’t get a job. No one in Hollywood will hire him and again as an artist who loves to create, that is prison.
“My prayer is that he is freed and put on house arrest and probation because in this case that would seem fair. Please #freejussie.”
In 1955, Till was tortured to death for allegedly flirting with a white woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham. He was 14. Donham later confessed to fabricating the story but was never charged.
Smollett, who is Black and gay, claimed that he was attacked in downtown Chicago in January 2019 by two white men who yelled racist and anti-gay slurs and put a noose around his neck. He also claimed they poured bleach on him.
An investigation seemingly proved that Smollett paid the Osundairo brothers (who are Black) to carry out the attack.
Smollett maintains his innocence. According to Joqcui Smollett, the star has been placed in a psych ward and is on suicide watch despite Smollett categorically stating that he is not suicidal.