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Oscars 2019: Jenifer Lewis weighs in on Jussie Smollett controversy

As actress Jenifer Lewis walked the red carpet at the Oscars Sunday evening, she took a few moments to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Jussie Smollett.

‘With Black History Month coming to a close, I want everybody to hear this. Before you lie to us, remember Rosa sat on that bus,’ Lewis told People Magazine’s Deputy Editor, JD Heyman.

‘Before you tell your tale, remember Mandela sat in that jail. Before you do anything, remember Dr. King, and before you connive and steal, remember Emmett Till,’ she added as reality TV star Shangela Laquifa Wadley stood next to her.

The ‘Black-ish’ actress, 62, went on to say that she’s one of most ‘compassionate people on this planet’.

‘But when we make a mistake… I mean who knows the true story. But I do know that we have to have compassion. But more than that, there has to be consequences for whatever happened. 

‘Because the temperament of the country right now is fragile. All I can say is let’s all put one foot forward and stand with each other. We need to unite now. It doesn’t matter who does what because there’s going to be a lot of things going on. Our job is to stand together on the front line and say “No” when we know it’s not right.’ 

 

Jussie Smollett

As actress Jenifer Lewis walked the red carpet at the Oscars Sunday evening, she took a few moments to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Jussie Smollett

 

'I mean who knows the true story. But I do know that we have to have compassion. But more than that, there has to be consequences for whatever happened,' Lewis said 

‘I mean who knows the true story. But I do know that we have to have compassion. But more than that, there has to be consequences for whatever happened,’ Lewis said 

Several celebrities have weighed in on the Smollett case, including Terrence Howard.  

Howard, who plays Lucious Lyon on the Fox musical drama, defended his onscreen son in an Instagram post on Saturday night.

In the video, Smollett is seen tickling and playing with Howard’s young son Hero on a private plane, although when is unknown.

‘All your lil homies got you…We love the hell outta you,’ Howard wrote in the caption for the clip, which has been viewed more than 377,000 times. 

‘How many teeth does he have?’ Smollett is heard saying in the video before tickling Hero, who bursts into laughter.

Smollett then adds: ‘Aw, he’s such a sweet baby.’

The 36-year-old actor was arrested last week and charged with filing a false police report of a hate crime.

He claimed two white men wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats cornered him around 2am in Chicago on January 29.

Several celebrities have weighed in on the Smollett case, including Terrence Howard (pictured with Smollett in 2018). Howard came out in support of his embattled Empire co-star Smollett in an Instagram post on Saturday night

Several celebrities have weighed in on the Smollett case, including Terrence Howard (pictured with Smollett in 2018). Howard came out in support of his embattled Empire co-star Smollett in an Instagram post on Saturday night

In the video, Smollett is seen tickling and playing with Howard's young son Hero on a private plane

How many teeth does he have?' Smollett is seen saying in the video before tickling Hero, who bursts into laughter

In the video, Smollett is seen tickling and playing with Howard’s young son Hero on a private plane (left and right). ‘How many teeth does he have?’ Smollett is seen saying in the video before tickling Hero, who bursts into laughter

 

'All your lil homies got you...We love the hell outta you,' Howard wrote in the caption for the clip, which has been viewed more than 377,000 times

‘All your lil homies got you…We love the hell outta you,’ Howard wrote in the caption for the clip, which has been viewed more than 377,000 times

Smollett said the men threw bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck and yelled ‘f****t’, ‘n****r’ and ‘This is MAGA country!’ 

However, after three weeks of investigation, Chicago police publicly announced that they believed Smollett made up the attack.

Police added that they believe Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers to pretend to attack him because he was upset with his salary on Empire.  

According to a Variety report from 2016, Smollett made about $20,000 per episode while co-stars Howard and Taraji P Henson – who plays his mother on the show – each made about $175,000 per episode.

TMZ reported that a check for a total of $3,500 written by Smollett to the two brothers states it was for a ‘training fee’. 

The memo line on the check reads: ‘5 week Nutrition/Workout program Don’t Go.’  

Sources reportedly told TMZ that Smollett paid $600 a week for a five-week workout plan and $100 a week for a five-week nutrition plan, which equals $3,500. 

Allegedly, ‘Don’t Go’ is a reference to a song that Smollett was going to appear in a music video for. 

Smollett insists he is innocent and his attorneys say they plan to mount ‘an aggressive defense’.

‘Like any other citizen, Mr Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked,’ his attorneys said in a statement. 

Police said they believe Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers to pretend to attack him because he was upset with his salary on Empire. Smollett reportedly made about $20,000 per episode while co-stars Howard and Taraji P Henson each made about $175,000 per episode

Police said they believe Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers to pretend to attack him because he was upset with his salary on Empire. Smollett reportedly made about $20,000 per episode while co-stars Howard and Taraji P Henson each made about $175,000 per episode

Many fans commented on Howard’s Instagram post, angry that he was defending his co-star.  

‘Sorry you feel that way but that’s the only Jussie I know,’ he replied to one comment.

‘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.’

On Friday, Fox announced Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon, was being written out of the last two episodes of season five.

Since Smollett’s arrest, his other Empire co-stars have yet to make any public statements.   

Social media users are now wondering, however, if Smollett was inspired for his alleged attack after Empire creator Lee Daniels revealed his cousin had been assaulted because he is gay.

Daniels posted a video on Instagram on January 10 condemning homophobia after his cousin was targeted and beaten because of his sexuality.

‘This past week my cousin was beat up for being gay and I am sick of hearing these stories,’ the Empire creator wrote alongside the video.

‘It’s the beginning of a new year and we need to do better. We need to continue to remember to love and to turn against the hate that we’re seeing out there. But we all need to fight that fight together.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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