On Tuesday (March 26), Jussie Smollett was exonerated of 16 charges for reportedly filing a false police report on the grounds of a hate crime, and disorderly conduct. Since the case, which is sealed, people have expressed their thoughts on the matter, including Taraji P. Henson and Charles Barkley.
For the former, Henson told USA Today that she’s content with the fact that she stood by her Empire co-star and that “the truth prevailed.” The award-winning actress also noted that she steered clear of “clickbait” statements and highlighted Smollett’s character. “I’m not easily swayed like that,” Henson said. “Those little clickbait [reports] weren’t enough to deter me from his immaculate track record. I know the type of activism this young man does in his community, I know that he’s a giver — he’s not an attention-seeker.”
On the other spectrum, Inside the NBA co-host Charles Barkley believes Smollett’s situation is a detriment to “everybody involved.” The Hall of Famer stated “there’s no winners. We’re all losers,” to TMZ following the aftermath. It was a similar sentiment that he expressed on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
“I think my black friends, my gay black friends, I think they lose, because there’s all repercussions when you’re a minority,” he said. “There’s always a double standard. You have to understand that and accept that. For every black, gay person out there, we lost. And it’s unfortunate. I don’t know that kid, I wish him nothing but the best.”
Near the end of January, Smollett said he was attacked by two men in Chicago. According to the 36-year-old, the assailants yelled racial and homophobic slurs. Throughout the Chicago Police Department’s investigation, the authorities came to the conclusion that Smollett reportedly paid two brothers to stage the attack. In mid-February, the actor faced charges that tacked a three-year sentence if found guilty.