Jojo Smollett remains loyal to his younger brother, actor/singer Jussie Smollett, despite mounting public scorn over Jussie’s alleged hate crime attack in January.
Now Jojo is asking skeptics to reconsider things. In a new essay published on BET.com, Jojo poses the question, ‘What if Jussie is telling the truth?’
The entire Smollett family has stood by the 36-year-old Jussie. But in this essay, Jojo eloquently explains facts have been overlooked and Jussie maintains that he is innocent.
‘I am definitely not asking you to feel sorry for my brother,’ Jojo wrote in the essay posted on Saturday (20 April). ‘He would never allow that. He still carries a humility, grace and knows he walks in more rarified air than so many people who have been wrongly accused and paying a heavy price.’
‘I am simply hoping there are some conscious-minded people out there who, instead of carelessly victim blaming and shaming, want to loudly ask the simple question: “What if Jussie is telling the truth?”’
The star of TV’s Empire made headlines worldwide when he told police two men assaulted him and hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him in the early morning hours on a Chicago street.
After an investigation, police charged Jussie with staging the incident himself and filing a false police report, leading to endless public scorn.
Nonetheless, Jussie pleaded not guilty and prosecutors eventually dropped all charges against him. Chicago police and public officials were outraged and filed a $130,000 lawsuit against him for the cost of the investigation.
Innocent and traumatized
Jussie Smollett maintains that he is innocent, but now is suffering from night terrors, Jojo reported.
‘Jussie is as strong as iron, but following an attack like this, there is a normal and natural amount of post trauma that mostly anyone should expect to suffer,’ Jojo wrote. ‘I have literally seen him violently awakening from night terrors, following the assault.’
The brother adds that Jussie’s life has been turned upside down in three months’ time.
‘Like so many others, this entire process quickly devolved from a focus on him as a victim of assault, to him being falsely accused and held responsible for a crime that was perpetrated against him,’ Jojo wrote. ‘To define this experience as unjust would be an understatement.’
Jojo reported that Jussie was reluctant to report the assault in January. It was his choreographer who insisted it must be reported and initially contacted the police.
He asks, ‘If [Jussie] staged the attack for publicity to boost his career, as alleged, why would he not want to make the incident public?’
Chicago police against Jussie?
Additionally, Jojo noted that Jussie declined to sign a complaint against the Osundario brothers, convinced the two could not be his attackers. Likewise, during the period when the brothers were considered suspects, Chicago police never showed Jussie any evidence they were his attackers.
As for the police’s claim that Jussie staged the incident trying to get a raise at work, Jojo pointed out that the Fox network immediately said it was not true. However, he said the Chicago police chief never withdrew his accusation.
Likewise, on the charge that Jussie sent a threatening letter to himself at the Empire production offices a few weeks before the attack, Jojo stated the FBI quickly refuted that charge. However, the Chicago police chief again never withdrew the accusation.
‘What concerned me the most is, as the CPD continued their campaign against Jussie, I started to notice an online “bandwagon” approaching, ignoring whether there were any real facts to suggest his guilt,’ JoJo wrote.
‘In an effort to fit in with the momentum on social media, many appeared to roast him, demean him, and laugh at a traumatic and painful ordeal.’
Jojo asks, ‘Is that all it takes to destroy a lifelong dedication to one’s craft and community? Is it really that easy to convince the world of a person’s guilt? Is that all it takes to turn a person’s life upside down in America? Simply ask yourself this, “What if Jussie is telling the truth?”’