Jussie Smollett has spoken out for the first time in nearly two years — insisting he’s innocent and the case against him is “bulls–t.” The former “Empire” star opened up about the infamous “hate crime hoax” in a rare interview with Marc Lamont Hill because he’s over staying quiet about the case.
“It’s been frustrating. It’s been beyond frustrating because to be somebody that’s so outspoken, to be somebody that speaks up for so much and speaks up about so many things, it’s been difficult to kinda be, you know, quiet,” Smollett said.
Before Smollett spoke with Hill activists Aislinn Pulley and Angela Davis offered critical insights on the history of policing, abolition, and the broader implications of the Smollett case.
Smollett is accused of staging a racist and homophobic hate crime against himself. Following the incident he was arrested and indicted on 16 felonies for filing a false police report. In March 2019 the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office suddenly dropped the charges with little explanation. Then in February a special prosecutor assigned to re-investigate the case following public outcry, brought new charges against him.
Smollett insists the public should take a closer look at the police and prosecutors involved in the case, claiming there is a financial motivation to “win” — no matter the cost.
“You’re willing to throw people under the bus that don’t deserve to be. You’re willing to coax people into lying about saying things happened that did not happen, you’re able to switch a narrative and sell a narrative based on the agenda that you’re trying to sell,” Smollett said. “That is what’s been happening.”
Smollett also insisted there are witnesses who back up his original claim that two white men, shouting racist and homophobic slurs, attacked him in Chicago before dousing him with bleach and throwing a noose around his neck on a bone-chilling January night in 2019.
He also says there’s a tape that shows the action leading up to his alleged assault, but implies the Chicago PD may have doctored the footage.
“These are the things that people don’t necessarily know because the lies and the things that were not true were yelled from the rooftop,” Smollett said. “There is a tape … there is something, but of course it cuts off right before it happens.”
When police still believed Smollett to be a victim, two brothers — Ola and Abel Osundairo — were arrested and grilled for their involvement. After nearly 48 hours in custody, the brothers told police they were paid by Smollett to stage the attack so he could get a pay bump on the set of “Empire.”
Jussie said the two brothers “changed their story at the last minute” and insisted “there would be no reason for me to do something foolish.”
“I do think that if you look at all of the things that were happening for me, and then for all of the opportunities and all of the money … whatever, that I have lost at this point, if in fact what they said was true, the smart thing to do would be to admit that. At least there would be a place to work back from. This is bulls—t. It’s bulls—t,” he said.