Gabby Sidibe is erasing her public support of Jussie Smollett, and reports claim that other actors on Empire want him fired amid allegations that he faked a hate crime attack against himself.
Smollett was arrested this week and hit with a felony disorderly conduct charge for allegedly lying to police about a January attack he claimed was carried out by two men shouting support for Donald Trump as they beat him and put a noose around his neck. Though Smollett remains steadfast that he had nothing to do with the attack, support around the actor is crumbling and there are rumors that he will be fired from the hit Fox show.
As the Daily Mail reported, Smollett went to the Cinespace studio on Thursday after being released from jail, where he pleaded with cast members that he did not orchestrate the attack against himself. But a TMZ report noted that some of the show’s stars are “f***ing furious” about the bad publicity Smollett has brought to the show and are calling for him to be fired.
That includes actress Gabby Sidibe, who was one of the first to show her support with an Instagram post where she said she believed Smollett as questions started to surface about the attack. The post showed a picture of Malcolm X and a quote about media turning victims into villains. Sidibe deleted the post after Smollett’s arrest this week.
Smollett was sent home on Thursday and did not film any scenes because it was obvious he had been crying, production sources told the Daily Mail.
Others have walked back their support as well, including California senator and 2020 presidential hopeful Kamala Harris. She was also an early supporter, calling the alleged attack a “modern day lynching” and using it as an example as she pushed for lynching to be made a federal law. Harris posting a statement on Twitter saying that the false claims to police divert resources from more serious investigations and make it more difficult for victims of crimes to come forward.
Jussie Smollett 'insists he's innocent' at Empire cast meeting https://t.co/gYtxVKyCvL— Independent TV (@TheIndyTV) February 22, 2019
Jussie Smollett could still face more legal consequences as well. While he already faces charges from Chicago police for allegedly lying about the attack, there is a separate federal investigation into whether he faked a threatening letter sent to him in the days before the alleged fake attack. Mail fraud is a federal offense and could land the actor in jail for up to five years if convicted.