Back on the ‘gram. Jussie Smollett returned to social media for the first time since January, when he claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
The Empire star, 36, took to Instagram on Monday, June 10, to share a video of playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney speaking at the 2019 Tony Awards. “@octarell_again So much #PRIDE,” Smollett captioned his post, adding two praying-hands emojis.
In the clip of his speech, McCraney, 38, said in part, “The bodies that uphold the great legacy of spirituals are often black and queer. When will we love all of them for who they are, not just what they can do?”
Smollett’s post came in the midst of LGBT Pride Month. It was his first since January 29, the day he reported to Chicago police that two men allegedly yelled slurs at him before beating him, pouring a chemical substance on him and wrapping a rope around his neck.
Two brothers named Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo were arrested on February 15 in connection with the incident, but they were released shortly after without being charged. Five days later, authorities classified Smollett as a suspect in the investigation and subsequently charged him with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly making a false police report. He was arrested on February 21 and released on $100,000 bond after a court hearing later that day.
Police claimed that the actor, who has maintained his innocence, staged the alleged hate crime against himself because he was dissatisfied with his Empire salary. On March 7, a grand jury indicted him on 16 felony counts. However, less than three weeks later, Smollett’s attorneys announced that “all criminal charges against [him] were dropped and his record has been wiped clean.”
Smollett’s Empire character, Jamal Lyon, is not expected to appear in the Fox drama’s sixth and final season.