Few of us forgot last year’s Jussie Smollett scandal. In January 2019, the former Empire star went to the Chicago police. He reported that two men jumped and beat him in a vicious hate crime. However, investigations uncovered that may not have been the whole truth.
Authorities suspected Smollett paid the two men to stage the attack. In February, they charged Smollett with six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying about the hate crime. He pleaded not guilty.
Jussie’s Sister Believes He is Innocent
Now, his sister, actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell, speaks up. In spite of everything, she defends her brother.
“It’s been f**king painful, one of the most painful things my family’s ever experienced — to love someone as much as we love my brother, and to watch someone who you love that much go through something like this, that is so public, has been devastating,” Jurnee tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I was already in a very dark space for a number of reasons, and I’ve tried to not let it make me pessimistic. But everyone who knows me knows that I love my brother and I believe my brother.”
Jussie and Jurnee have four other siblings. Several of them are also actors.
“We are blessed to have a community of people who know him, and know that he wouldn’t do this,” Jurnee continues. She also says Jussie is doing his best to keep his spirits up and stay creative during this difficult time. She says he sings, writes, and works on new music projects.
No one wants to believe someone would make up such a horrible crime. However, who knows if we will ever know for sure what happened.
Empire Continues Without One of its Cast Members
Shortly after the incident, Empire fired Jussie Smollett. His character was noticeably absent from the final two episodes of Season 5. Empire‘s producers released a written statement:
“While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays… We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.”
However, for a short while, a small glimmer of hope remained that Jussie might return. In April 2019, Fox Entertainment announced they extended his contract through Season 6. But in June, co-creator Lee Daniels made an official announcement. Empire would go on for its sixth and final season without Jussie Smollett.
Are you an Empire fan? What did you think of the final season without Jussie Smollett? Share your opinions with us in the comments.
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