“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett received a 150-day sentence and 30 months probation for staging a hate crime in January 2019 and lying to police about being the victim. Some, including Smollett’s brother Jocqui, say that the lack of support Jussie is receiving is due to homophobia. What are your thoughts?
Otis Trotter, Canton, Ohio
I think there’s some truth in her claims of homophobia in the Black community. But I don’t think this was a significant factor in Black people’s skepticism surrounding his story. When it first happened, I think Black people believed him and were supportive even for a great while after his story continued to unravel. Eventually, it got to the point where people just had enough of this ridiculousness. He still could have retained some of his dignity if he would’ve confessed and demonstrated some contrition.
Lashell Jackson, Duncanville, Texas
What did he expect? Black folks to loot and tear down the city on behalf of his brother’s lies? Of course, we care. We always care when there is an extreme miscarriage of justice. He pulled a narcissistic stunt he contrived in his head for his ego, and now he’s feeling the fire because everyone’s on to him.
Freeda Dale, Washington, D.C.
I absolutely loved Jussie on “Empire” and probably watched the show longer than I should have because of Jussie and his talents. Initially, I believed his story and was saddened to hear that this happened to him. However, don’t carry me along if it’s BS and seek support. I’m not here for that. All that stated, I still think jail time is excessive. How many others have filed false reports and not served a day for it?
Rolando Sanchez, Los Angeles
No, lying about what happened is what caused the lack of support.
Brandy Johnson, Dallas
Do you mean like the tons of support he initially received? Many Black folks simply believe either he flat-out lied or there’s enough lies mixed in that he doesn’t deserve our energy. Overall, however, we believe that him going to jail is a bit much. But I’m not marching for Jussie.