As has been reported, all charges against actor Jussie Smollett of making a false police report about being attacked have been dropped. The development came almost five weeks after he was arrested and accused of lying about being attacked by two white men in a supposed hate crime in Chicago.
The charges were dropped after Cook County prosecutors had an “emergency court appearance,” which Smollett spoke about outside the courthouse. The actor forfeited his $10,000 bail to the city of Chicago and agreed to do community service before the charges were removed.
“I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain,” said Smollett on Tuesday. “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of. I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement into a fire like this. I just wouldn’t.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed the charges being dropped as well and called it a “whitewash of justice,” while Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson — who slammed Smollett in a press conference after his arrest — said he still believes the actor committed a hoax. Prosecutors, while dropping the charges, said Smollett is not exonerated.
Smollett’s family also spoke out after the charges were dropped.
“Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared,” read a statement. “Jussie is a son, a brother, a partner, a champion for human rights and a genuine soul who would never be capable of what he was falsely accused of. He was the victim of an assault and then falsely blamed for his own attack. This morning truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated.”
20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment who airs Smollett’s “Empire” show also released a statement and said they’re “gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
Writers on “Empire” acknowledged the charges being dropped too and tweeted a screenshot of CNN’s news report. “See y’all on Wednesday,” they wrote, referencing the night “Empire” airs.
Plus, a few celebrities weighed in, like Ava DuVernay, who was skeptical about the arrest from the very beginning and re-posted her tweet questioning it. “I’ll just put this right here,” she wrote on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Taraji P. Henson spoke to USA Today and said she was ecstatic about her “Empire” co-star being in the clear.
“I’m happy that the truth has finally been set free, because I knew it all along,” she said. “I know him and I know his track record. I’m not going to jump on clickbait just because someone says something derogatory about a person I know and love.”
“Those little clickbait weren’t enough to deter me from his immaculate track record,” she added. “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.”
Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts after police said he lied about being attacked by two white men, who yelled racist and homophobic slurs.