Disgraced “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who was convicted of faking the homophobic attack that stoked racial tensions in 2019, professed his innocence during a radio interview on Monday.
Smollett, who turned 40 on the same day, denied hiring Nigerian brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to stage a beatdown that he told police was carried out by white Trump supporters.
“If I had done this, I’d be a piece of s***. And I don’t think that’s really questionable,” he said on Sway’s SiriusXM show. ‘
“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,” the actor continued. “It would mean that I stuck my fist in the fears of the LGBTQ community all over the world. I am not that motherf*****. Never have been. Don’t need to be.”
Smollett said that the prosecution’s assertion that he orchestrated the attack to elevate his status in Hollywood was false.
“[I] didn’t need some sort of ris[ing] in my career. I was on the up ad up. I was coming from New York from doing a table read from my dream role in a Broadway show,” he boasted. “I had all of these things that I was creating. There would be no reason for me to do some dumb corny s*** like that, but people are going to believe what they [want to] believe.”
Smollett was convicted on five counts of disorderly conduct for lying to law enforcement officials in December, and sentenced to 150 days in prison. He served six days before he was released when his attorney started the appeal process.
The actor took aim at his Hollywood haters during the interview. “For whatever reason, I thought people would be like, ‘There is no way he did something like that,’” he remarked.
“I do hold some people accountable … The people that do know me. F*** out of here. That’s some PR bulls***. And you know who you are,” Smollett concluded. “And I will not name names and I love everybody, but I don’t like that.”
Watch his interview: