Culture

Celebrities, Like Queen Latifah, Who've Defended Jussie Smollett After Arrest

Jussie Smollett stirred up controversy when he was listed as a suspect in his own apparent attack and arrested as a result. Not all are turning their back on the Empire star as he received support from actress Queen Latifah on Tuesday.

"Until somebody can show me some proof otherwise, I'm going with him. The guy I've seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who’s very kind and who's always been cool and sweet," Latifah, 48, said on Yahoo News' Through Her Eyes. "That's just the guy I know. So until I can see some definitive proof—which I haven’t seen yet. I gotta go with him until I see otherwise."

Smollett, 36, was accused of orchestrating his own attack, which was initially being deemed a potential hate crime by the Chicago Police Department. He initially claimed to have been assaulted by two men who approached him yelling racial slurs. The alleged attackers, brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, were arrested and later released as they were said to be cooperating with police. Smollett was then arrested and released on a $100,000 bond. He was cut from Empire Season 5's last two episodes and is expected to appear in court date on March 14.

While the odds are seemingly stacked against Smollett, Latifah isn't the only star who has rallied their support for the actor. 

Jussie Smollett Queen Latifah Defense Jussie Smollett is pictured attending the Trevor Live Los Angeles Gala 2018, in Beverly Hills, California, on December 2, 2018. Queen Latifah defended Smollett after he was arrested for allegedly staging his own attack. Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

Ava DuVernay

In February, Ava DuVernay tweeted how she refused to "blindly believe" the Chicago Police Department despite the "inconsistencies" in Smollett's account. She referred to the CPD as "the department that covered up shooting Laquan McDonald over a dozen times" and "that operated an off-site torture facility." 

Maxine Waters

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters spoke to Variety in February about Smollett, someone she once called a "friend," and his arrest. "If in fact, it's a hoax, of course, I would be disappointed," she said. She, who once vocalized her belief in his story, added: "I still don't know all of the details. I'm waiting for the final result of all of this."

Jeffrey Wright

While not a direct defense of Smollett, Wright took to Twitter amid Smollett's arrest to argue how the actor "having himself beat up" isn't more detrimental than "a Trump-radicalized white nationalist with a weapons cache drawing up a list of Americans to kill." 

Yvette Nicole-Brown

In the wake of Smollett's arrest, actress Yvette Nicole-Brown tweeted about how she aimed to be vocal about her "love for Jussie & his entire family" despite the controversy. "I will continue to hope for the best for everyone involved as things continue to unfold. And I, like all of you, will watch them unfold. But believing victims is always the right choice. Always," she wrote. 

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