Speed Reads

'no one was hurt or killed'

Taraji P. Henson calls for Empire co-star Jussie Smollett's release: 'The punishment does not fit the crime'

Taraji P. Henson wants to #FreeJussie. 

The Empire actor on Instagram called for her co-star Jussie Smollett to be released from jail after he was sentenced to 150 days for staging a fake hate crime against himself. 

"I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime," she wrote.

Henson argued Smollett should be placed on house arrest rather than jailed, saying the fact that "no one in Hollywood will hire" him anymore is punishment enough. "As an artist who loves to create, that is prison," she wrote. Henson also appeared to compare Smollett to Emmett Till, who was "brutally beat and ultimately murdered because of a lie and none of the people involved with his demise spent one day in jail." She added, "No one was hurt or killed during Jussie's ordeal." 

A judge sentenced Smollett to 30 months probation after he was convicted of lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime. The judge ordered him to spend 150 days in county jail after lambasting him over "the pain" he "caused to real victims of hate crimes." In deciding the sentence, the judge also said he took into account the fact that Smollett "committed hour upon hour upon hour of pure perjury" during his trial by proclaiming his innocence. 

Jurnee Smollett, Jussie's sister and star of HBO's Lovecraft Country, also shared the #FreeJussie hashtag on Instagram along with #StopLockingUpOurPeople, writing, "You don't have to believe in his innocence to believe he should be free."