A Black activist group called for the NAACP to rescind Jussie Smollet’s NAACP Image Award nomination.
Before getting entangled in an alleged hate crime, in which the “Empire” actor claimed he was a brutally beaten and humiliated, Smollett was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.” Since then, Smollett has been charged with staging the hate crime.
“Everyone has a reason to be disappointed with Jussie Smollett right now, and these accumulated reasons justify the NAACP taking swift and appropriate action to remove him from consideration for its Image Award,” Project 21 co-chairman Council Nedd II said in a statement. The Image Awards are set for March 30th, but the NAACP has not responded to the request.
“Smollett is charged with perpetrating a hate crime hoax that wasted valuable police resources and stoked racial tensions nationwide. It hurt our nation’s ability to heal its racial wounds and made the NAACP’s civil rights goals harder to achieve,” Nedd II continued. “The NAACP needs to make it clear that his behavior is not OK by removing him from contention for an Image Award.”
Many claims, stories and several pieces of evidence have emerged from Smollett’s case. The actor alleged he was attacked in January by two men, who put a rope around his neck, beat him and yelled, “This is MAGA country” before they took off. The 36-year-old was arrested and charged, but was released on a $100,000 bond. Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct in connection to the alleged attack. While new evidence showed the Chicago Police Department delivered false information to media, Smollett still faces 10 years in prison.
“The NAACP was founded to help move America beyond our deeply racist past. Generations of men and women – both black and white – have dedicated their lives to that noble cause. It would be nothing short of a slap in the face to those civil rights heroes for the NAACP to now honor Smollett with an Image Award while he’s suspected of using symbols of racial barbarism – including a noose – to shamelessly advance and promote his career,” Project 21 member Jerome Hudson said in a statement.
“Empire” producers and showrunners previously stated that Smollett would be cut from the remainder of Season 5, Page Six reports.