One of the biggest things that fans loved about Lee Daniels’ hit FOX series Empire was the mother/son relationship displayed by Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett as main characters Cookie and Jamal Lyon, respectively.
Following Smollett’s real-life prison sentencing last week after being found guilty of staging a 2019 hate crime hoax, his former TV mom decided to defend the disgraced actor by calling for his release and using the sad case of Emmett Till as an example for her reasoning.
Henson has joined the #FreeJussie movement started by his family in wake of Cook County Judge James Linn’s decision to give Smollett 150 days in jail, 30 months of probation and an order to pay $120,000 in restitution to the Chicago Police Department for overtime spent investigating the case. “I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime,” Taraji wrote to begin a lengthy caption in defense of Jussie (seen above), going on to add, “Emmett Till was brutally beat and ultimately murdered because of a lie and none of the people involved with his demise spent one day in jail, even after Carolyn Bryant admitted that her claims were false. No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal. He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING!”
Many have been taught since childhood about 14-year-old Emmett Till’s gruesome 1955 lynching, an act that as of last week is now officially considered a hate crime that’s named after the late teenage civil rights martyr. Although Taraji is quite bold to compare the actual crime of Till’s death to a lie Jussie told for sympathy and fame, the core of her argument is that his lie was a victimless one. She concluded the caption by adding, “To me as an artist not able to create that in itself is punishment enough. He can’t get a job. No one in Hollywood will hire him and again as an artist who loves to create, that is prison. My prayer is that he is freed and put on house arrest and probation because in this case that would seem fair. Please #freejussie” [sic].
Overall, what Jussie is accused of doing should be taken seriously being that many real-life victims of racist and homophobic attacks may be met with skepticism as a result of his actions. Still, worser crimes have been committed with little to no legal ramifications (see: Kyle Rittenhouse).
Let us know if you agree with Taraji P. Henson or believe Jussie Smollett is getting his due punishment.
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