Jurnee Smollett Defends Brother Jussie After Controversy

Jurnee Smollett attending the "Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn" World Premiere.
Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

Actress Jurnee Smollett is standing by her brother, Jussie Smollett, after his 2019 controversy and the investigation that followed, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, in January 2019, Jussie told police that he had been attacked by two men wearing MAGA hats while walking on the streets of Chicago. He said the men made homophobic and racist comments while putting a noose around his neck and pouring some kind of liquid on him. The 38-year-old actor was later accused of staging the hate crime against himself and ended up facing multiple lawsuits as a result.

While chatting with THR, 33-year-old Jurnee said the entire situation has been incredibly difficult for her and her family.

“It’s been f*cking painful,” she said. “One of the most painful things my family’s ever experienced — to love someone as much as we love my brother, and to watch someone who you love that much go through something like this, that is so public, has been devastating.”

“I was already in a very dark space for a number of reasons, and I’ve tried to not let it make me pessimistic. But everyone who knows me knows that I love my brother and I believe my brother.”

Moving forward, Jurnee said she’s depending on her family’s resilience, and Jussie’s resilience, to keep them going. She said she often finds herself admiring Jussie’s strength and that they’ve been spending a lot more time together after he moved in to help her through her divorce during the recent lockdown. As for what the former Empire star has been up to these days, she said he’s staying busy and creative. She said he’s been “singing, writing, [and] working on music.”

She also noted that it’s been maddening to hold her tongue on the situation and not be able to defend her sibling since his legal issues are ongoing.

Jussie Smollett and Jurnee Smollett attending the Essence Black Women In Hollywood Oscars Luncheon.
  Leon Bennett / Getty Images

As for Jurnee, she’s also been staying busy with her own career. The actress insisted that her Hollywood career has not been negatively impacted by the ongoing drama because she’s surrounded by people who believe in and support the older Smollett sibling.

Jurnee’s most recent project is HBO’s highly anticipated Lovecraft Country — a sci-fi horror series that revisits the atrocities of Jim Crow America — which is set to be released on August 16. Jurnee will play the role of Letitia “Leti” Dandridge, one of the lead characters of the series, which was developed by Misha Green and based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff.