Following the initial reports that Empire actor Jussie Smollett had suffered a violent hate crime attack, one of the more vocal voices in support of Smollett was Ellen Page, the openly gay actress from Juno, Inception, and the new Netflix series Umbrella Academy.
Page appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on January 31 and delivered an impassioned denunciation of the Trump administration’s policies, and then later pivoted to the case of Smollett’s alleged assault, which was first reported a couple of days earlier.
“The urgency is so severe, and yet we have a media that’s barely talking about it,” Page said on the show, per TIME magazine. “We have a media that’s saying it’s a debate whether or not what just happened to Jussie Smollett is a hate crime. It’s absurd! This sh*t isn’t a debate.”
Page went on to tie administration policies, and specifically Vice President Mike Pence’s views, to the attack. She also made news for criticizing actor Chris Pratt for belonging to a church whose leaders have expressed anti-LGBT views.
After the Smollett story began to fall apart, with the actor brought up on charges that he filed a false police report, Page has now addressed the topic again.
In a Hollywood Reporter piece, Page only touched on Smollett briefly and did not apologize for her previous comments.
“The conversation around Jussie Smollett has led us all to examine hate violence and its implications and aftermath. I had no reason to doubt Jussie,” Page wrote.
She added that the work she did on Gaycation, a TV docu-series, introduced her to many survivors of hate crimes.
Page began the piece by detailing a December incident in which an intoxicated man at a Seattle Seahawks game was accused of harassing, badgering, and groping a lesbian couple and punching one of them in the face before he was fought off by surrounding fans.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 27, 2019
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer the man, Jay Dee Harp III, has been charged with second-degree assault and malicious harassment, the latter under Washington State’s hate crime statute. That incident has not made national news in the way that the Smollett case did.
“We, as LGBTQ+ people, are forced to fear for our safety because instances of hate violence, like the violence these women experienced in Seattle, happen,” Page said in the piece. “They happen to us all the time.”
Page came out as gay in 2014 in a speech at a Human Rights Campaign conference, per Hollywood Reporter.