Jussie Smollett’s sister, actress Jurnee Smollett, is calling for Cook County to “#FreeJussie” following her brother’s sentencing Thursday, telling her followers they should advocate for his release — because of disparate incarceration between black and white Americans — even if they believe he is guilty.
Jurnee Smollett’s call for Cook County to “#FreeJussie” comes after her brother was sentenced to 150 days in jail for staging a fake hate crime against himself in January 2019.
“Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly five times the rate of White Americans,” she wrote in her Instagram caption. “Jussie is innocent. And… you don’t have to believe in his innocence to believe he should be free.”
The actress included the hashtags “Free Jussie” and “Stop Locking Up Our People.”
In January 2019, Smollett had claimed he was physically attacked by two men wearing red hats who put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him, and shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, before eventually yelling, “This is MAGA country!” in reference to former President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.
On Thursday, Judge James Linn sentenced Smollett to 150 days in jail, 30 months of probation, restitution of $120,106, and a fine of $25,000.
“You’re just a charlatan, pretending to be a victim of a hate crime,” Judge Linn told Smollett during Thursday’s sentencing, adding that the actor’s “very name has become an adverb for ‘lying.’”
“Your performance on the witness stand, this can only be described as pure perjury,” the judge added. “You committed hour upon hour upon hour of pure perjury.”
Smollett is now a convicted felon.
The actor repeatedly shouted, “I am not suicidal, and I am innocent” as he was being hauled off to jail on Thursday.
On Saturday, Smollett’s brother Jocqui Smollett reported that the actor has been placed in a psych ward at the Cook County jail.