JoJo Smollett, Jussie Smollett’s eldest brother, is breaking his silence on Jussie’s case.
In an op-ed for BET, JoJo asks a question he feels hasn't been addressed.
"I am simply hoping there are some conscious-minded people out there who, instead of carelessly victim blaming and shaming, want to loudly ask the simple question: 'What if Jussie is telling the truth?'"
JoJo reveals his little brother had reservations about reporting his alleged hate crime to the police. “He was weary and didn’t care for the unnecessary attention it might garner,” JoJo wrote.
He added: “It should be noted: if he staged the attack for publicity to boost his career, as alleged, why would he not want to make the incident public?”
JoJo said the "Empire" actor has a successful career outside of the show, including several upcoming projects and charitable efforts in the works, and Jussie did not want to jeopardize any of it. JoJo wrote that he feels like Jussie was tried in the court of public opinion. He also raises many questions about the credibility of the Chicago Police Department and how authorities handled his brother’s investigation.
JoJo said he has seen firsthand the effect the ordeal has had on his brother’s health.
“Jussie is as strong as iron, but following an attack like this, there is a normal and natural amount of post trauma that mostly anyone should expect to suffer. I have literally seen him violently awakening from night terrors, following the assault. Some of my siblings as well as Jussie’s partner and closest friends have seen similar things," he wrote.
Back in January, the "Empire" actor told authorities he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
Police accused him of paying two men to stage the attack. After an investigation, he was indicted on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. During a court appearance in March, those charges were dropped.
All the while, Smollett has maintained his innocence.