Taraji P. Henson, "Empire" cast reacts to Jussie Smollett's dropped charges
“I’m happy that the truth has finally been set free,” Henson said.
“Empire” star Taraji P. Henson is celebrating now that her costar Jussie Smollett is officially off the hook for charges of lying to Chicago police in an alleged hate crime.
On Tuesday (March 26), the actress told USA TODAY, “I’m happy that the truth has finally been set free, because I knew it all along.” Henson continued, “We’re all happy for him, and thank God the truth prevailed.”
According to the “What Men Want” star, there was never a doubt in her mind that Smollett was innocent — even with all the leaks attempting to prove otherwise. “I know him and I know his track record,” she stated. “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.”
Henson went on to say, “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.”
True to her persona as a loyal individual, Henson added, “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,” she says. “We need people that stand by us. Whatever happened to that? Why are we so easy to believe strangers over people we know?”
The Oscar-nominated actress also told the outlet she doesn’t know if Smollett plans to return to the show after being written out of the last two episodes of the current season. She reportedly hasn’t spoken to him since his charges were dropped on Tuesday (March 26) but stressed the need to “believe victims” who come forward about their attacks.
Gabourey Sidibe, Smollett’s other “Empire” costar and close friend, also came to his defense after the news broke. “It’s weird that y’all decided that the police were being 100% honest about this case,” she wrote on Instagram along with a photo of Smollett.
Their statements come after reports that the “Empire” cast and crew are “fiercely divided” about the charges being dropped against Smollett. According to TMZ, some of the staff on set still believe he is guilty of staging a fake attack to get a salary increase. In a bizarre twist of events, the prosecutor who dropped the charges against Smollett also said he believes Smollett is guilty, but felt the actor’s actions did not warrant prison time.
Smollett still faces possible federal charges if the FBI finds that he sent himself the threatening letter he received eight days prior to his alleged assault on Jan. 29.
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