“Until somebody can show me support otherwise, I’m going with him,” Latifah said Tuesday on “Through Her Eyes,” a Yahoo News show. “The guy I’ve seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who’s very kind and who’s always been cool and sweet. And that’s just the guy I know. So until I can see some definitive proof — which I haven’t seen yet — then, you know, I gotta go with him until I see otherwise.”
She did add, “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.” Watch below:
On Jan. 29, while walking to a subway, Smollett claimed two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, investigators told The Hollywood Reporter. They allegedly punched and poured bleach on him while one of the suspects put a rope around his neck. As they fled the scene, Smollett told police they said, “This is MAGA country.”
By Feb. 21, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report.
The Chicago Police Department claimed the Nigerian-American brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo told them the attack was orchestrated by the “Empire” actor and that they were paid $3,500. However, TMZ reported the FBI said the Chicago Police were “overstating” and “went too far” when they said Jussie sent a hateful Jan. 22 letter to himself.
TMZ also reported, “We’re told authorities are trying to determine if the pages have the lettering found in the letter. They’re also checking the postage stamp against the stamps found in the brothers’ apartment.” The Nigerian brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, denied sending the letter.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson may have also gone too far when he said Jussie paid the brothers $3,500 to stage the attack. TMZ reports they “obtained documents that on the surface back his claim the $3,500 check he wrote to Abel was for training. The check was written to Abel on January 23, 2019, six days before the ‘attack.’ The memo line reads, ‘5 week Nutrition/Workout program Don’t Go.'” “Don’t Go” is a song for a music video where he would appear shirtless.
TMZ also reported, “There are various texts starting from January 20 between Jussie and Bon. On January 28 — the day before the ‘attack’ — Bon [Abel Osundairo] wrote, ‘I know you’re traveling today, make sure you get at least 45 mins of cardio.’ Another text on January 20 outlines a menu for the day, including chicken thigh, StarKist Tuna, Eggs and Smucker’s peanut butter. And, a text on January 25 reads, ‘This is the meal plan and the breakdown of macronutrients. Also includes projected fat loss.'” The $3,500 breakdown was reportedly “$600 a week for the workout plan for 5 weeks, and $100 a week for the nutrition plan for 5 weeks,” according to TMZ reports.
Smollett maintains his innocence.