Actor Jussie Smollett has lashed out at critics who have compared him to a Virginia sixth grader who faked a hate crime.
Amari Allen, a student at Immanuel Christian School, a private K-12 school, in Fairfax, Virginia, reported last week that three white sixth grade boys pinned her to the ground and cut off her dreadlocks. The incident later turned out to be a hoax after surveillance footage did not reveal any such attack, and after Allen acknowledged she made up the story.
Following the revelations that Allen had created a hoax, Instagrammer Derrick Jackson chided Smollett with the quip “Jussie really is a trendsetter,” in reference to Smollett’s own alleged faking of a hate crime earlier this year. This prompted the embattled actor to lash out with his own response.
“With all due respect brother, y’all can clown me all you want but my story has actually never changed and I haven’t lied about a thing,” Smollett quipped in his response.
He continued: “Y’all can continue to be misinformed, internalized sheep, who believe what actual proven liars feed you or you can read the actual docs. Either way, Imma be alright. I know me and what happened. You don’t. So carry on. All love.”
Smollett had initially claimed that two men attacked him on the streets of Chicago this January, tying a noose around his neck, dousing him with bleach and beating him.
After an immense outpouring of public sympathy and international media attention, a police investigation and surveillance footage later revealed that Smollett had faked the hate crime, having paid his two “attackers” to stage the incident. The two men have since sued Smollett for defamation.
The actor was also indicted on grand jury charges for filing a false police report, though his lawyers negotiated a settlement. The actor forfeited a $10,000 bond and will have to complete 16 hours of community service.
The scandal resulted in Smollett’s firing from his role on the show Empire. The FBI has is also launching its own investigation as to why charges against Smollett were dropped.