Posted 48 days ago
Disgraced Empire actor Jussie Smollett stood by his claims of innocence and insisted he did not lie about his homophobic attack hoax.
Addressing his highly publicized and controversial trial and its aftermath on the Sway's SiriusXM show, Smollett said he has never felt more sober, grateful and blessed.
The actor, who much like Amber Heard lost his case not only in the legal system but also in the court of public opinion, said his moral principles as a black gay man made him incapable of orchestrating the hoax.
'If I had done this, I'd be a piece of s***. And I don't think that's really questionable,' Smollett said in the episode, which was aired on his 40th birthday on Monday.
'If I had done something like this, it would mean that I stuck my fist in the pain of black African Americans in this country for over 400 years.'
'It would mean that I stuck my fist in the fears of the LGBTQ community all over the world. I am not that motherf*****. Never have been. Don't need to be,' he added.
With the benefit of hindsight, Smollett likened his March six-day prison stay at Cook County Jail to a cathartic opportunity he used to 'reset and regain clarity' by fasting.
'My lawyer... he lied when he said I was fasting for lent. I was not fasting for lent. I was fasting because, that's what we do in my family, we fast for clarity,' he said.
His description of his time in jail is a stark contrast to his pleas at the time, when he asked to be released citing his COVID risks as an immunocompromised patient, and then claiming that his incarceration was taking a huge toll on his mental health.
Six days into his initial 150-day sentence, Smollett was released pending an appeal.
The actor has seemingly thrown himself into work following the scandal. He released a song in April and made his post-scandal directorial debut in May on BET+ with the film B-Boy Blues.
But his reappearance from disgrace was not welcomed by his detractors on social media, who questioned why he was given a platform to reverberate his already-debunked claims.
'Dude go away. You lied and stop being delusional and just own up to your shit. The fact that y'all giving him a platform to speak is crazy. Them people ain't just make that shit up. FOH,' Twitter user @TreeHouse 9 wrote.
Another user also tweeted: 'Don't believe his lies. He is a horrible liar and a criminal for parading a forgery he wrote himself in front of congress.'
'I will bet you $100. the 'writer' of the letter is never found. Handwriting is his. Check the writing before sticking up for a stunt hoax,' they wrote in reference to a homophobic, racist letter Smollett claimed to have received.
User @Markitoz408 also complained that 'moment we forget about Jussie Smollett he pops up again.'
Meanwhile, @windowtwonky compared the societal consequences of Smollett's hoax to those of Amber Heard's claims against her ex-husband Johnny Depp.
They wrote: 'The case of Jussie Smollett stirred up a huge amount of racist rhetoric. He's still a liar though. He wasn't given a pass because of his race. The very same goes for Amber Heard. That she is being attacked by misogynists does not make her innocent.'
On Sway's SiriusXM show, Smollett questioned the prosecution's rationale for his motivations behind reporting the attack, arguing that the controversy had quite the opposite effect, tanking his already-peaking career in the entertainment industry.
'[I] didn't need some sort of ris[ing] in my career. I was on the up ad up. I was coming from New York from doing a table read from my dream role in a Broadway show,' Smollett said.
'I had just auctioned the rights to the authorized autobiography of Alvin Ailey.'
'I had all of these things that I was creating. There would be no reason for me to do some dumb corny s*** like that, but people are going to believe what they [want to] believe,' he added.
The 40-year-old actor said he regretted that his family had been subjected to unnecessary salaciousness and that the experience had been deeply taxing.
Smollett said enduring the alienation of the very public trial had made his internalized homophobia resurface.
'I felt like I had just become a fa**** [who] got his ass beat, or at least that was what I thought people saw me as,' he said.
Smollett said he felt compelled to be spoken about the assault, which was proved to be a hoax in court, because he wanted to help those... (Read more)