Jussie Smollett’s sister breaks silence on ‘painful’ hate crime allegations: ‘It’s been devastating’

Jussie Smollett

More than a year after Jussie Smollett was accused of lying about being the victim of a hate crime, his younger sister has spoken of the effect it’s had on their family.

The Empire actor has continued to deny accusations that he staged a fake homophobic and racist attack on himself. The 16 felony counts against him were dropped in March 2019, but a grand jury revived the criminal case 11 months later with charges of disorderly conduct.

His sister, the actor Jurnee Smollett, has maintained her brother’s innocence as she publicly addressed the incident for the first time.

“Everyone who knows me knows that I love my brother,” she told The Hollywood Reporter, “and I believe my brother.”

Choosing her words carefully, she described how “painful” the ongoing legal battle and persistent media attention has been for their fiercely close family.

“It’s been f**king painful, one of the most painful things my family’s ever experienced,” she said. “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.”

The ongoing legal case means Jurnee is limited in what she can say, and she admitted how “maddening” it is for someone as outspoken as she is to be told she “can’t talk” about the ordeal.

But she’s thankful to be surrounded and supported by “a community of people who know him, and know that he wouldn’t do this”.

Jussie Smollett ‘staying creative’ despite hate crime allegations.

Jussie Smollett is “staying creative, as creatives do, singing, writing, working on music,” Jurnee said, and she commented on his resilience as he keeps a low profile and waits for the case to proceed.

“I mean, f**k man, I look at him sometimes and I’m like: ‘He’s so strong,'” she said.

Fortunately the scandal hasn’t impacted Jurnee professionally, and she’s soon to appear in HBO’s Lovecraft Country, a highly anticipated horror, sci-fi drama that revisits the atrocities of Jim Crow America.

“We’re telling the story of heroes that go on a quest to disrupt white supremacy,” she said. “It’s maddening that in the year 2020 it’s still relevant.”