Jussie Smollett insists he’s not ‘a piece of s–t,’ says he gained clarity from jail


Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett professed his innocence and insisted he’s “not a piece of s–t.”

Smollett, who was found to have paid two men to pretend to be racist and homophobic Donald Trump supporters and attack him with a noose and bleach, was sprung from a Chicago jail in March after serving a six-day sentence.

The 40-year-old actor addressed his highly publicized trial on Sway Calloway’s SiriusXM show, “Sway in the Morning”, claiming he did not lie about the attack.

“If I had done this, I’d be a piece of s–t. And I don’t think that’s really questionable,” Smollett said in the episode aired on Monday.

Smollett — best known for his role as Jamal Lyon on Fox’s “Empire” — said him being a black gay man makes it impossible for him to stage the attack.

“If I had done something like this, it would mean that I stuck my fist in the pain of black African Americans in this country for over 400 years,” he told Sway.

“It would mean that I stuck my fist in the fears of the LGBTQ community all over the world. I am not that motherf—er. Never have been. Don’t need to be.”

Appearing to wipe the sweat off his forehead several times throughout the interview, Smollett said he used his six-day prison stay at Cook County Jail as an opportunity to “reset and regain clarity” by fasting.

“I was not fasting for slow. I was fasting because that’s what we do in my family, we fast for clarity,” he said, adding he’s never “been as clear as I was for those six and a half days.”

The actor said the support he received from his family, in particular his mother, got him through his week behind bars.

Sway Calloway and Jussie Smollet
Jussie Smollett addressed his hate crime scandal, brief prison stint, and the clarity he’s gained from his experiences on Sway Calloway’s SiriusXM show on June 21, 2022.

“My family — the most wonderful human beings — I live and die for those people. Let me tell you something, mommy don’t go nowhere. Mommy is a house cat.

“She was like, ‘Watch me stay in LA and my baby is in Chicago.’ She did not play,” he said while fighting back tears.

Jussie Smollett was led out of the courtroom after being sentenced at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on March 10, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
Jussie Smollett at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Illinois on March 10, 2022 after being sentenced for lying to police about a reported hate crime.
Getty Images

Smollett opened up about his experience of being locked in a cell for six days, saying he was thrown into a psych ward.

“Lord knows I wanted to get out. I was in af–ing psych ward … I was sleeping on a restraint bed but I wasn’t restrained,” he said.

“I have to keep it real, everybody inside was very kind and when I left, I thanked them all. I said, ‘I don’t know what y’all think either way, but the fact that you didn’t let me know what you think either way and you just showed me respect I’m grateful for.’”

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 16: Train "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett (light mask) is released from the Cook County Department of Corrections detention center on March 16, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.  Smollett began serving a 150-day sentence on March 10, after being found guilty late last year of lying to police about a hate crime after he reported to police that two masked men physically attacked him, yelling racist and anti-gay remarks near his Chicago home in 2019. Today an appellate court judge ordered him freed while his case is appealed.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Despite reportedly being thrown into a psych ward during his time in jail, Smollett says he used his prison time to “reset and regain clarity”.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Smollett said he was forced to “surrender” to himself during his brief prison stint.

“There’s something about being in there and you have no choice but to surrender yourself. Not to the system, not to a judge or a bunch of old white men ironically explaining to you about the history of hate crimes, but you’re surrendering to yourself,” he said. “You’re just left there with you, your thoughts, and these walls.”

“I believe that the prison system needs to be dismantled,” he added.

Smollett was initially sentenced to five months in jail following his conviction on five counts of felony disorderly conduct for lying to police. He was ordered to pay the city of Chicago $120,000 in restitution and a $25,000 fine after being found guilty.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 08: Train "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building as the jury begins deliberation during his trial on December 8, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.  Smollett is accused of lying to police when he reported that two masked men physically attacked him, yelling racist and anti-gay remarks near his Chicago home in 2019. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Smollett was accused of lying to police when he reported that two masked men physically attacked him, yelling racist and anti-gay remarks near his Chicago home in 2019.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Defense lawyers argued that Smollett was unconstitutionally charged twice for the same crime after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office originally agreed to dismiss his case in 2019.

During the interview with Sway, Smollett’s friend and “B-Boy Blues” co-star Brandee Evans joined the fun, gushing over her friendship with the troubled actor.

“This is my friend for real,” Evans said. “I love Jussie. Jussie has been my ride or die. When my ex-husband left me I was literally at Jussie’s house. I love my friend, he has been there through everything with me.”

Sway Calloway, Jussie Smollett, and Brandee Evans
Smollett was also joined by friend and actress Brandee Evans during his appearance on Sway’s show.
EMPIRE: LR: Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett and Terrence Howard in the "Never Doubt I Love" episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, April 24 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  (Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images)
Smollett starred alongside Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard on FOX’s hit show “Empire” before being cut off in the series’ fifth season as a result of his hate crime controversy.
Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Smollett found fame at an early age, landing roles in films such as “The Mighty Ducks” and “North” at age 10.

The child star, who hails from California, went on to star alongside his five real-life siblings in ABC’s “On Our Own” from 1994 until 1995.

Smollett later landed a lead role in Patrik-Ian Polk’s LGBT-themed comedy-drama “The Skinny.”

After putting his name on the map in Hollywood, the actor went on to guest star on “The Mindy Project” in 2012, and “Revenge” in 2014.

Later that year, Smollett landed the role of a lifetime in “Empire” opposite Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard. His character was cut from the final two episodes of the show’s fifth season as a result of his hate crime controversy.



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