See Jussie Smollett's First Instagram Post After 18-Week Absence During Alleged Attack Case

Empire actor Jussie Smollett shared his first Instagram post since his alleged January attack in Chicago, sharing an emotional moment from the 2019 Tony Awards Sunday night.

Smollett shared a clip of Tarell Alvin McCraney's speech about black queerness during the awards show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. McCraney, an Oscar-winner for co-writing Moonlight, wrote the play Choir Boy, which was nominated for Best Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Jeremy Pope and Best Choreographer for Camille A. Brown. Choir Boy did win Best Sound Design of a Play for Fitz Patton's work.

Smollett only tagged McCraney in his caption, adding "So much [PRIDE]" and praying-hands emojis. Comments were disabled on the post, which was Smollett's first since Jan. 28.

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The 36-year-old Smollett claimed he was the victim of a hate crime on the night of Jan. 29 during his walk home to Chicago. He claimed he was attacked by two men wearing "Make America Great Again" hats, who allegedly yelled homophobic and racist slurs, put a noose around his neck and threw an undisclosed liquid at him.

Chicago police later accused Smollett of staging the attack because he was unhappy with his Empire salary. He was charged with 16 felonies related to lying to police. However, on March 26, the charges were suddenly dismissed in exchange for Smollett completing community service. He also had to forfeit his $10,000 bond.

In late May, Chicago authorities released hundreds of pages of documents related to the case. The documents showed that the State Attorney's office told detectives about the deal to dismiss the charges in late February. A Chicago police spokesman later told CBS Chicago they believed the settlement would include Smollett admitting his guilt, but instead, the actor defiantly stood by his story in a press conference after the charges were dropped.

"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 in March. "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of."

Amid the fallout of the scandal, Smollett was written out of the last episodes of Empire Season 5. When the show was renewed for a sixth and final season, there was speculation that Smollett would come back, but producer Lee Daniels confirmed on Twitter he will not be back.

"This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire," Daniels wrote in a response to a recent Variety report.

Empire will be back in the fall on FOX.


Photo credit: Getty Images