During an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Jessie Smollett’s sister, Jurnee Smollett, addressed her brother’s 2019 controversy for the first time.
The 33-year-old actress touched base on how her family has been affected by the accusation that her brother staged a hate crime against himself in Chicago last year. In February, Jussie, 38, pleaded not guilty to six counts of disorderly conduct after he was accused of lying to police about the incident.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Chicago authorities claimed that Smollett paid two men to stage an anti-gay and racist attack on him on January 29, 2019. However, during her interview, Jurnee maintains her brother’s innocence.
“It’s been f**king painful, one of the most painful things my family’s ever experienced — to love someone as much as we love my brother and to watch someone who you love that much go through something like this, that is so public, has been devastating,” she said. “I was already in a very dark space for a number of reasons, and I’ve tried to not let it make me pessimistic. But everyone who knows me knows that I love my brother, and I believe my brother.” However, Jurnee’s support for her brother has not negatively impacted her Hollywood career.
“We are blessed to have a community of people who know him and know that he wouldn’t do this,” she said.
“I mean, f**k, man, I look at him sometimes, and I’m like, ‘He’s so strong,'” she continued. She says her brother is currently “staying creative, as creatives do” and “singing, writing, and working on music.”