As questions mount over Jussie Smollett’s report to police last month that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, two of the actor’s siblings have taken aim at the media.
Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Jocqui Smollett posted a quote attributed to Malcolm X on Instagram.
“This is the media, the irresponsible media,” the posting said. “It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal.”
Smollett-Bell, who starred in the TV series “Underground” and voiced the character of Chrysta in “Sofia the First,” reposted the image from her brother Jocqui, who also posted an image of a tweet in support of Jussie Smollett.
“I have a feeling even if we had video of Jussie (Smollett) being attacked…y’all would still discredit him,” the tweet read. “Because it’s easier to believe what aligns with your contempt for survivors of hate crimes, sexual abuse, etc who happen to be LGBTQ+, disabled, or women.”
Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation have told CNN that Chicago police believe Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the alleged assault.
In a statement from his attorneys issued Saturday, Smollett denied playing a role in the attack.
“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” the statement said. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
The “Empire” star told authorities two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs” assaulted him January 29. He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
His family offered early support to Smollett, releasing a statement standing with the actor and thanking everyone for their help after what they called an act of “domestic terrorism.”
“Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning,” the statement said. “His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. “
There are six Smollett siblings.