Los Angeles, March 6 (IANS) American rapper and actress Queen Latifah says she will stand by “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett until she sees proof that he staged a hate attack on himself.
Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report, and was last week slammed by Chicago police officers for taking advantage “of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
But Queen Latifah said: “The guy I have seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who is very kind and who is always been cool and sweet. And that is just the guy I know. So until I can see some definitive proof – which I have not seen yet – then, you know, I got to go with him until I see otherwise.”
Before the case erupted, Smollett last summer told Billboard that he was struggling with the pressures of fame. “I’m in my 30s and I’m trying my best to learn that I can’t bend anymore. I’m about to break,” he said.
Queen Latifah, who once appeared on “Empire” in a crossover episode with Smolett, said on a news show: “I don’t even know what to make of it.
“All I know is that I hope everything works out in the end and everybody basically comes out unscathed.”
Smollett reported in January that he was attacked by two men yelling racial and homophobic slurs. Chicago police initially called it a possible hate crime, but now say that Smollett hired two acquaintances from “Empire” – brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo – to help him stage the assault.