CHICAGO—”Empire” star Jussie Smollett, still has some supporters after allegedly staging a hate crime attack.
One of those supporters is his co-star Terrance Howard who posted a video on Instagram where Smollett is seen playing with Howard’s baby son, Hero, while they were aboard a private airplane. Smollett smiles and says to the camera, “Aw, such a sweet baby.”
In the video’s caption, Howard wrote, “All your lil homies you got…We love the hell outta you,” with a heart emoji.
Howard has been the only one of Smollett’s co-workers to defend his character. In the comment section of an Instagram post on Sunday Howard wrote to critics:
”Sorry you feel that way, but that’s the only Jussie I know. The Jussie I know could never even conceive of something so unconscious and ugly. His innocence or judgment is not for any of us to decide. Stay in your lane and my lane is empathy and love and compassion for someone I’ve called my son for five years. It’s God’s job to judge and it’s ours to love and hope, especially for those that we claim to have loved.”
Smollett was first reported as the victim of an attack that authorities with the Chicago Police Department investigated as a hate crime on January 29. He claimed that two men attacked him while screaming racial and homophobic slurs at him. Smollett claimed the attackers tied a noose around his neck before pouring a substance on him that might have been bleach before fleeing the scene.
Authorities took two persons of interest into custody for questioning. Smollett’s story of the attack came into question, after the people of interest were identified as Nigerian with dark skin, and not two white men as Jussie reported to police. Police also uncovered the rope, the bleach and a magazine tied to the threat letter at the apartment of Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo.
On Thursday, February 21, Smollett was arrested for allegedly filing a false police report. The CPD indicated that Smollett paid the two men $3,500 to fake the attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary on “Empire.” Officials suspect that Smollett composed a threatening letter and sent it to himself prior to the attack. Smollett has maintained his innocence in the alleged attack.