The Chicago police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel may be outraged about the charges against Jussie Smollett being dropped, but his Empire mom is “happy” that “the truth prevailed.”
“I’m happy that the truth has finally been set free, because I knew it all along,” Taraji P. Henson told USA Today on Tuesday. “We’re all happy for him, and thank God the truth prevailed.”
The cast of Empire has mostly kept their silence over the last two months as Smollett went from the victim of an apparent racial and homophobic attack to the suspected mastermind behind the staged attack. But, despite the actor, who plays Jamal Lyon on the Fox hit, previously being indicted on 16 felony counts for “false report of offense” and removed from the final two episodes of Empire‘s season, Henson never believed Smollett was capable of such a thing.
“When I know someone, there’s nothing you can say to make me flip on them, and that’s what we miss in this world,” says the actress, who stars as Cookie Lyon on Empire. “We need people that stand by us. Whatever happened to that? Why are we so easy to believe strangers over people we know?” She added, “I’m not going to jump on clickbait just because someone says something derogatory about a person I know and love. I’m not easily swayed like that. 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.”
While the prosector who dropped the charges insists that he does not believe Smollett to be innocent, the actor is maintaining that he was a victim. Henson says the lesson here is “we should absolutely believe victims. That’s why a lot of people, especially females, feel like they can’t come forward saying they’ve been raped. I believe that’s why we have a whole #MeToo movement, because women have felt they couldn’t come forward because they’d be criminalized in some way. Movements don’t just come out of the sky – movements happen because they’re needed. You have a group of people who haven’t been heard.”
Fellow Empire star Gabourey Sidibe also weighed in, writing on Instagram, “It’s weird that y’all decided that the police were being 100% honest about this case.”
When reached on Tuesday, Fox and 20th Century Television said, “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.” The official Twitter account for the Empire writers also weighed in with an interesting emoji choice.
Empire airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
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