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Costar Taraji P. Henson Wants Jussie Smollett ‘Free,’ Says Blacklisting From Hollywood Is ‘Prison,’ Invokes Emmett Till
Host Taraji P. Henson attends the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Rich Fury/Getty Images

“Empire” costar Taraji P. Henson defended actor and convicted hate crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett via Instagram over the weekend, pleading for Smollett’s freedom and arguing that his apparent blacklisting from Hollywood is equivalent to being in prison.

The actress also invoked the murder of black teenager Emmitt Till, suggesting Smollett is innocent.

Back in December, the actor was found guilty on five counts of disorderly conduct in relation to his infamous hate crime hoax.

“I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime,” Henson started her post, captioning an image that says #FreeJussie.

“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,” she argued. “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,” Henson wrote. “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,” she closed the post. “Please #freejussie.”

Smollett’s actress sister, Jurnee Smollett, said her brother was convicted and hit with five months of jail time not because he’s guilty, but because he’s black.

“Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly five times the rate of White Americans. Jussie is innocent,” she wrote via Instagram. “And…you don’t have to believe in his innocence to believe he should be free.
#FreeJussie #StopLockingUpOurPeople.”

Jurnee captioned the same #FreeJussie photo as Henson.

Back in January 2019, Smollett claimed he was targeted and attacked by apparent supporters of President Donald Trump in an anti-gay, anti-black hate crime. His alleged attackers, whom he allegedly described as white males who yelled “This is MAGA country,” were brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo. Notably, the brothers are both black men who knew the “Empire” star before the incident and have claimed Smollett orchestrated the “hoax.” The Daily Wire detailed Smollett’s claim at the time:

Smollett contends he was targeted by two Trump supporters, who verbally and physically accosted him as he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop in downtown Chicago on January 29. The actor says the men called him a “f*****” and a “n*****,” tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and kicked him in the ribs.

Related: Jussie Smollett Found Guilty On Multiple Counts In Hate Crime Hoax Case

Related: ‘Jussie Smollett Can Rest Knowing That His Attacker Has Been Convicted’: Social Media Erupts Following Verdict

Related: Smollett Admits On Stand To Changing Description Of ‘Attackers’ From ‘White’ To ‘Pale,’ Was Being ‘Responsible’

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Costar Taraji P. Henson Wants Jussie Smollett ‘Free,’ Says Blacklisting From Hollywood Is ‘Prison,’ Invokes Emmett Till