Social media users are on a roll with memes referencing Jussie Smollett’s latest arrest.
The Empire star was indicted on Wednesday for disorderly conduct, which is a felony charge. According to TMZ, Smollett paid brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo to stage an attack on Smollett. The publication added that footage of the brothers purchasing supplies before the incident was used as evidence for the grand jurors, along with testimonials.
Like any scandal, social media has been at the forefront of Smollett’s scandal since the news of his alleged staged attack broke. One meme from a user on Instagram shows a poster of the Disney movie The Lion King, replacing Mufasa’s face with Smollett’s and changing the title to The Lyin’ King. Another meme, per HotNewHipHop, shows the Mighty Ducks star’s face in place of Lionel Richie’s self-titled album cover. The name of the album cover is cleverly replaced as Liar-nel Richie.
Celebrities have also spoken out about Smollett’s accusations within the last week. Cardi B called out Smollett via Instagram Live. The rapper said she was “really disappointed” by his alleged actions and said he “f–ked up Black History Month.” Salem Radio’s Sebastian Gorka even called the alleged hoax a hate crime via his Twitter account.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) February 21, 2019
Smollett reportedly turned himself in to Chicago police on Wednesday. After releasing a statement, he was taken into police custody shortly after. Chicago police told TMZ that he is in the custody of detectives and will be arraigned on Thursday, following a news conference.
The attack was reportedly set for January 29 because that was when the Osundairo brothers were scheduled to leave for Nigeria. The brothers claim they didn’t know about the hate crime letter that Smollett allegedly created himself, and maintain that they did not intend to participate in a hate crime.
The actor’s attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, released a statement regarding their client’s fate on Wednesday.
“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,” the attorneys wrote. “Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
Smollett’s fan base consists of people within the LGBTQIA community and many of them have expressed the importance of the public to not allow the recent arrest of the actor to steer away from the many attacks that happen to the community on a daily basis.
“Dear queer/trans people of color: Know that regardless of how this Jussie situation plays out, we still believe you,” rapper Chika Oranika tweeted. “One man’s actions will never set the precedent for how we react to true stories of trauma.”