Watch: Jussie Smollett Maintains Innocence, Finds It 'Difficult to Be so Quiet'

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday September 13, 2020

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett  (Source:AP Photo/Matt Marton, File)

On Wednesday, beleaguered actor Jussie Smollett maintained his innocence during an Instagram Live interview with activist Marc Lamont Hill, Vulture reports.

The "Empire" actor has been accused on staging a hate crime against himself, an incident that took place in Chicago on January 29, 2019. Allegedly, Smollett was attacked outside his apartment building by two suspects in ski masks, yelling "this is MAGA country" and racial and homophobic slurs before pouring a liquid over his head and placing a noose around his neck.

The new interview with Hill also included discussions with Aislinn Pulley, co-founder of Chicago's Black Lives Matter, and activist and scholar Angela Davis, supporter of abolishing the prison-industrial complex. In discussion with Hill, Smollett said:

It's been beyond frustrating because to be somebody that's so outspoken... it's been difficult to be so quiet. To not be able to say all of the things that you want to say, to not be able to yell from the rooftop.

"Because, I don't think people realize that I've just been wrapped up in some form of a case for the last, approaching, in just a couple of months approaching two years. It's been beyond frustrating. I'm certainly not going rogue. I'm still taking the advice of my attorneys and everything like that. But I just don't see honestly what staying quiet has really done. Where it has gotten me."

Smollett was charged with filing a false police report less than a month later and surrendered to police. Then on March 26, 2019, prosecutors dropped charges against Smollett in exchange for 16 hours of community service and forfeiting the $10,000 bond. An investigation was launched into the ways the Cook County State's Attorney's Office might have mismanaged Smollett's case, and the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit against Smollett for overtime paid to officers investigating an incident they allege was Smollett's making. Late in 2019, Smollett filed a lawsuit against the city and then this last February, Smollett was indicted again for making false statements to the police, with a judge ruling in June that double jeopardy does not apply to the latest round of charges.

Watch Smollett speak with Hill:


Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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