Jussie Smollett’s brother staunchly defended the actor in an op-ed that provided insight into how Smollett wanted to handle the alleged attack — and how it has affected him since.
In a piece for BET, Jojo Smollett wrote that his brother is an “exceptional individual” whose character on the show “‘Empire’ represents much of who he is and has given voice to people who have been historically marginalized.”
Smollett, who is gay and plays a gay character on the FOX show, made national headlines in January after he said two men yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him and put a rope around his neck.
The attack spurred a massive investigation, but the case was turned upside down when the Chicago Police Department accused Jussie of staging the assault. He was indicted on 16 felony counts in early March; however, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office eventually dismissed all charges against him.
Jojo disputed claims that his brother staged the attack for a financial gain or more press. He noted that Jussie was involved in a slew of projects, “all pointing to not only an advancing career but a business savvy mind.”
“To suggest that he staged his own attack to boost a sagging career is ludicrous,” he wrote.
The piece, entitled “What if Jussie is telling the truth?” and published Saturday, also alleged that Jussie “didn’t even want to contact the police.”
“He was weary and didn’t care for the unnecessary attention it might garner. His choreographer insisted, and the choreographer contacted the police himself,” Jojo wrote.
He claimed that his brother now suffers mentally.
“Jussie is as strong as iron, but following an attack like this, there is a normal and natural amount of post trauma that mostly anyone should expect to suffer,” Jojo wrote. “I have literally seen him violently awakening from night terrors, following the assault. Some of my siblings, as well as Jussie’s partner and closest friends have seen similar things.”
The op-ed ends with a plea from Jojo to the public.
“I am simply hoping there are some conscious-minded people out there who, instead of carelessly victim blaming and shaming, want to loudly ask the simple question: ‘What if Jussie is telling the truth?'”
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