Jussie Smollett doesn’t have a ton of defenders right now, but he’s not entirely alone. On Wednesday, the Empire actor was arrested by Chicago PD, who accused him of filing a false police report involving the attack he claimed was a hate crime. Many who once supported his claims have since turned on him. Someone who hasn’t is his onscreen father, Terrence Howard.
On Friday, TMZ claimed that many on staff at Empire were demanding he be fired. So far his character will “only” be removed from the rest of the season. Howard, apparently, isn’t ready to go that far. And he took to Instagram to show his support of the embattled actor.
At first Howard kept it simple. He posted a video of Smollett playing with a baby, with the caption, “All your lil homies got you… We love the hell outta you ♥️.”
Howard’s support was criticized and challenged in the comments, prompting Howard to elaborate. “The Jussie I know could never even conceive of something so unconscious and ugly,” Howard replied. “His innocence or judgment is not for any of us to decide. Stay in your lane and my lane is empathy and love and compassion for someone I’ve called my son for five years. It’s God’s job to judge and it’s ours to love and hope, especially for those that we claim to have loved. There’s nothing more harmful than a real friend!”
Smollett has continued to assert his innocence, as have his lawyers. If convicted of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report, he could face up to three years in prison.