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Jussie Smollett talks guilty verdict, his career in new interview

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Jussie Smollett had a few choice words for close friends who didn’t believe he was innocent after he was found guilty of felony disorderly conduct in December for lying to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic attack.

Smollett, 40, appeared on SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning” Tuesday where he discussed the guilty verdict, claims that he staged the attack for a bump in his career and how “internalized homophobia” made the alleged incident harder for him to live out in. the public eye.

The actor was sentenced to 150 days in jail in March and was later released after an appellate court ordered he could go free during the appeal process, which wouldn’t be completed before Smollett had served his full sentence.

Probation and a fine were also part of his sentencing after a jury found him guilty of lying to police about being the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago in 2019. Smollett has maintained his innocence.

Jussie Smollett releases new song:Actor maintains his innocence in ‘Thank You God,’ donate to causes

Smollett told radio host Sway Calloway that he understood “why people felt betrayed” because of the way his story was “served” to the public.

“I genuinely thought that people were gonna be like, ‘there’s no way that he did some (stuff) like that.’ I’m just like, ‘Y’all know me,’ “he said of close friends who supported the guilty verdict. “I do hold some people accountable for the things that they said, for the things that they did, for the ways that they reacted. Because half of those people should have picked up the… phone and called me, because they had my number, you know, and they didn’t. “

Smollett wouldn’t name people who made negative comments, but he said if they knew him, they should have known better. He added, “I love everybody, but I don’t like everybody.”

Jussie Smollett receives support:Smollett’s ‘Empire’ co-star Taraji P. Henson, sister denounce actor’s jail sentence

The former “Empire” actor also slammed the notion that he staged a hate crime for attention. “If I had done something like this, it would mean that I stuck my fist in the pain of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years… It would mean that I stuck my fist in the fears of the LGBTQ community, all over the world. “

He claimed that he didn’t “need to” further his career with a grand gesture because “I was on the up and up.” Smollett revealed that he was in the process of auditioning for his “dream role” on Broadway’s “Take Me Out,” was authorized the rights of Alvin Ailey’s autobiography for an undisclosed project and had more career opportunities before the case “took it from me. “

Despite his legal woes, Smollett made his directorial debut in 2021 at the American Black Film Festival with “B-Boy Blues,” an adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s 1994 novel examining gay culture and hip hop’s relationship. The film hit streaming service BET + earlier this month.

Jussie Smollett attends the "B-Boy Blues" Atlanta premiere on June 8, 2022 after making her directorial debut.

Jussie Smollett fined, sentenced to 150 days in jail:Jury concludes he staged racist, homophobic attack and lied to police

During the SiriusXM interview, he also reflected on an interview he did with Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” ​​in February 2019 following the alleged Chicago incident.

“I hAcesparks’t watched the interview at all until we were on trial and I had to watch it because they were trying to use the interview as evidence of lies or whatever. So, I had to watch it and I watched it and I was mortified… I cringed at every single word, “he shared. “I didn’t want to be there. And I was so angry and so offended that I had to go on national television and explain something that happened to me. And it was so political, and it was all of those things.”

Juror speaks out:Only Black juror in Jussie Smollett case couldn’t get past ex-‘Empire ‘actor’s reaction to noose

Smollett continued: “I found myself dealing with my own internalized homophobia. As an openly gay Black man who leads with his Blackness… I’m embarrassed. And I’m a little bit ashamed to say that, meaning that I wanted to, I wanted to represent all of us that had been assaulted based on who we are. “

“But for the people that didn’t have the platform that I had, I wanted to say all of the things that people should hear from people who have been through this,” he said.

Months after the guilty verdict and his prison release, Smollett said that he’s “never felt healthier and more grateful and never felt more blessed than I feel now.” He said he is in therapy to work through his last three years.

Jussie Smollett appears at his sentencing hearing on March 10, 2022.

More:Jussie Smollett walks out of jail after lawyers win appeal motion for his release

Smollett was handed the guilty sentence on March 10. Immediately after the verdict was read, he told the judge “I am innocent, and I am not suicidal,” suggesting that “if anything happens” in jail, he did not take his own life .

At Smollett’s sentencing in March, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, who was called by the state, submitted a statement that was read aloud by Samuel Mendenhall, a member of the special prosecution team. Brown, who wasn’t with the city at the time of Smollett’s police report, said Smollett’s false report of a hate crime harmed “actual victims” of such crimes. Brown also asked that the city be compensated for its costs.

Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, who told the jury that Smollett caused Chicago police to spend enormous resources investigating an alleged crime that turned out to be fake, called the verdict “a resounding message by the jury.”

Contributing: Edwards Segarra, Elise Brisco, Rasha Ali, Maria Puente, Edward Segarra, ; The

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