Anthony Anderson has weighed in on Jussie Smollett's exoneration, saying he is "happy" the charges were dropped ahead of the NAACP Image Awards.
Anderson hosted the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, where Smollett was honored for his role in Empire. On Wednesday, he spoke to reporters from Variety, saying that he was glad the charges against Smollett had been dropped. Smollett's controversial case confused and divided people across the nation.
“I hope to see him here,” Anderson said. “I hope he wins. I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color.”
In reality, Smollett skipped the NAACP Image Awards, where the award for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series went to Jesse Williams of Grey's Anatomy. Smollett missed both nights of the ceremony, but Anderson said that he wished he could have made a speech.
“So I’m glad it worked out for him,” the 48-year-old actor said. “It’s not my place or any other person’s place to judge him or what not, but I’m glad that he’s nominated... I hope he wins because I’d be interested to hear his speech.”
While Smollett was not at the award show this weekend, he was featured heavily in Chris Rock's speech. The comedian mocked Smollett, apparently still assuming that he was guilty.
"They said no Jussie Smollett jokes," Rock said. "I know. What a waste of light skin, you know? You know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be outta here! F—ing running Hollywood!"
The jokes had many people laughing, though not everyone. The next group on stage was the cast of Black-ish, and Yara Shahidi declared: "I stand with Jussie."
Smollett was cleared of 16 charges of felony disorderly conduct last week. He maintains that he did not orchestrate a fake hate crime against himself, though it is clear that not everyone agrees.
"I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one," Smollett said outside the courthouse after he was cleared. "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of."
"This has been an incredibly difficult time — honestly one of the worst of my entire life — but I am a man of faith, and I am man that has knowledge of my history," Smollett continued. "I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn't."