Empire star in hot water - Local entertainers weigh in on criminal case
The Empire TV series is one of the most watched shows in Jamaica, so it is not surprising that Jamaicans would be actively following the developments with one of the show's most popular stars.
Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon in the hit US TV series, is now a person of interest in his own criminal case. New information given by the former suspects lists Smollett as the mastermind behind his January 29 attack.
Smollett had reported that he was attacked by two men wearing masks while he went out to get food at a nearby subway in Chicago. He said the men identified him as the 'faggot' from Empire and hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him before inflicting wounds to his face and body.
In light of the recent developments, local celebrities have become just as interested in the case as those overseas.
On Tuesday, entertainers Foota Hype and Ce'Cile weighed in on the drama surrounding the actor as they commented on a post made by popular radio disc jock ZJ Sparks. Sparks posted an update from TMZ, which said that Smollett allegedly rehearsed the incident with the two men who were accused of attacking him.
Ce'Cile, in her comments, questioned why Smollett would have been led to do something so extreme.
"Honestly, that was weird from the start. Like he's a star walking at 2 a.m. by himself like that and not wanting to hand over his phone," she said.
"It's so crazy he'd really do something like this in this time. If this is really so, he has just made it harder for people who will actually go through those things to be taken seriously."
When THE STAR contacted J-FLAG's (Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays) Jaevion Nelson, he said he could not give any comments on Smollett's specific case as he did not have all the details. He also said that if Smollett is guilty, it would be a disappointment for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community as the actor is a well-known advocate.
"I can see how this will have an impact on people in the future who will have similar experiences (being attacked for being gay) and the kind of support they will get. People are going to be a little bit wary sometimes and a lot of questions are usually asked about these particular cases, so something like this would definitely not help with that," Nelson said, adding that he hopes the case will be investigated thoroughly.
While Smollett is yet to come forward to confirm or deny these new developments, a report by Variety Magazine explained that if Smollett falsified a police report, he will be charged with a Class 4 felony in Illinois, a crime that carries a potential sentence of one to three years in prison.