Jussie Smollett: 'Empire' Actor's Brother Breaks Silence Over Alleged Attack

Jussie Smollett has the support of his family throughout his legal woes.

Three weeks after Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against the star, Jussie's brother JoJo Smollett spoke out in defense of his sibling's character in an editorial for BET.com.

"It has not yet been 90 days since my younger brother, Jussie Smollett, was assaulted on a cold winter night in Chicago. Within less than three months, his life has been turned upside down as my family and I have witnessed him endure unrelenting attacks to his character and reputation," JoJo wrote in in the op-ed published Saturday.

The actor told police he was attacked on the street in downtown Chicago around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 by two masked men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs, also pouring an "unknown chemical substance" on him and placed a rope around his neck.

The investigation took a turn after Chicago authorities began to suspect Smollett was responsible for staging the alleged hate crime. The actor was arrested Feb. 20 after an investigation, later leading to him being indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports to police, PEOPLE writes.

"Like so many others, this entire process quickly devolved from a focus on him as a victim of assault, to him being falsely accused and held responsible for a crime that was perpetrated against him. To define this experience as unjust would be an understatement," JoJo said.

"Is that all it takes to destroy a lifelong dedication to one's craft and community? Is it really that easy to convince the world of a person's guilt?" JoJo wrote regarding media scrutiny against the actor amid police allegations. "Is that all it takes to turn someone's life upside down in America? Simply ask yourself this, 'What if Jussie is telling the truth?'"

Jojo continued, denying his brother's alleged involvement on the case, and referring to police claims that he staged the attack for attention as "ludicrous."

He went on to claim Jussie never seeks attention and "didn't even want to contact police" after the attack, writing: "He was weary and didn't care for the unnecessary attention it might garner.

The Smollett family previously spoke in defense of Jussie after the charges were dropped, calling the actor an innocent man "whose name and character has been unjustly smeared" throughout the case.

"Jussie is a son, a brother, a partner, a champion for human rights, and a genuine soul who would never be capable of what he was falsely accused of," the family said. "He was the victim of an assault and then falsely blamed for his own attack... Truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated."

Jojo ended his message to the public, one again defending his brother's character, referencing his character on Fox's Empire, Jamal Lyon.


"Jussie’s character on Empire represents much of who he is and has given voice to people who have been historically marginalized," he wrote.

He added: "I am definitely not asking you to feel sorry for my brother. He would never allow that. He still carries a humility, grace and knows he walks in more rarified air than so many people who have been wrongly accused and paying a heavy price."