On Instagram, the Academy Awar- nominated and Emmy nominated actress posted the caption #FreeJussie, a hashtag that has been utilized by fellow actors such Indya Moore, Kendrick Sampson, and Smollett’s sister, actress Jurnee Smollett, in light of the actor’s recent legal woes.
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Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in a county jail after he was found guilty for staging a hate crime.
The actor, known for his role as Jamal Lyon on the Fox musical drama series Empire, made headlines in 2019 after it was originally reported that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two white men.
Henson, who played Smollett’s on-screen mother Cookie Lyon on Empire, argued that Smollet’s punishment does not fit the crime.
“I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime,” Henson wrote. “Emmett Till was brutally beat and ultimately murdered because of a lie and none of the people involved with his demise spent one day in jail, even after Carolyn Bryant admitted that her claims were false,” Henson continued. “No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal. He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING!”
In December, Smollett was found guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct for staging the attack and filing a false police report.
“No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal,” she continued. “He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING! To me as an artist not able to create that in itself is punishment enough. He can’t get a job,” he said. “No one in Hollywood will hire him and again as an artist who loves to create, that is prison. My prayer is that he is freed and put on house arrest and probation because in this case that would seem fair.”