Taraji P. Henson has expressed relief at the recent news that all criminal charges were dropped against Jussie Smollet, reports USA Today.
The Empire star was asked about her thoughts concerning the latest turn in her co-star’s legal case. Henson has remained one of Smollet’s staunchest defenders in the wake of the alleged attack and subsequent charges for filing a fake report.
Henson said she is glad that her on-screen son is being vindicated.
“I’m happy that the truth has finally been set free because I knew it all along. We’re all happy for him and thank God the truth prevailed. Those little clickbait reports weren’t enough to deter me from his immaculate track record. I know the type of activism this young man does in his community. I know that he’s a giver. He’s not an attention-seeker.”
Henson has stood by Smollet’s side since the actor’s initial report of the alleged attack in late January. After he was indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, she refused to even question the possibility of his guilt.
“When I know someone, there’s nothing you can say to make me flip on them, and that’s what we miss in this world. We need people that stand by us. Whatever happened to that? Why are we so easy to believe strangers over people we know?” she said.
Henson went on to say that the case was a perfect study in victim-blaming and belief in accusers. She continued to reiterate the importance of believing victims, particularly women who have been assaulted. She stressed the importance of the #MeToo movement in getting rid of the stigma that accusers will automatically be criminalized for coming forward.
“Movements don’t just come out of the sky – movements happen because they’re needed. You have a group of people who haven’t been heard.”
Henson admitted in the interview that she has not had a chance to speak with Smollet personally. She also has no knowledge of his future with the show. Smollet’s character, Jamal Lyon, had his scenes removed from the last two episodes of the current season.
Empire’s writers posted a cryptic, teasing message on Twitter with a screenshot of the news announcement, according to Toofab.com.
Fox, which airs Empire, also released a brief statement.
“Jussie Smollet has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
The show has not officially been renewed for a sixth season.