Taraji P. Henson has called for her former Empire co-star Jussie Smollett to be freed from prison for staging a fake hate crime.
The actor was sentenced to 150 days of jail time and 30 months probation on Thursday after being found guilty of felony disorderly conduct for lying to police about a racist and homophobic attack he staged on himself in Chicago in January 2019.
Using the hashtag #freejussie on Instagram on Sunday, Taraji insisted Jussie has been punished enough and didn’t deserve to be incarcerated.
“I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime,” she wrote. “Emmett Till was brutally beat and ultimately murdered because of a lie and none of the people involved with his demise spent one day in jail, even after Carolyn Bryant admitted that her claims were false.
“No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal. He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING! To me as an artist not able to create that in itself is punishment enough. He can’t get a job. No one in Hollywood will hire him and again as an artist who loves to create, that is prison. My prayer is that he is freed and put on house arrest and probation because in this case that would seem fair. Please #freejussie.”
Taraji, who turned off the comments for the post, joined Pose star Indya Moore and Jussie’s sister Jurnee Smollett in calling for Jussie to be freed.
Jussie’s brother Jocqui said in a video on the actor’s Instagram account over the weekend that he’s currently being held in a psych ward at the Cook County Jail in Chicago.
“What’s very concerning is that there was a note attached to his paperwork today and put on the front of his jail cell saying that he’s at risk of self-harm,” Jocqui said. “I want to just make it clear to folks that he is in no way, shape, or form at risk of self-harm. And he wants to let folks know that he is very stable, he is very strong, he is very healthy, and ready to take on the challenge that ultimately has been put up against him.”
– Cover Media