Why Queen Latifah is standing by Jussie Smollet after alleged hoax

Queen Latifah says she will stand by under-fire “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett – until she sees proof that he staged a hate attack on himself.

Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report – and was last week slammed by Chicago cops for taking advantage: “Of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”

But Queen Latifah insisted: “The guy I’ve seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who’s very kind and who’s always been cool and sweet.

“And that’s just the guy I know. So until I can see some definitive proof – which I haven’t seen yet – then, you know, I gotta go with him until I see otherwise.”

Before the case erupted, Smollett last summer told Billboard that he was struggling with the pressures of fame, admitting: “I’m in my 30s and I’m trying my best to learn that I can’t bend anymore. I’m about to break.”

And speaking to Zainab Salbi, host of the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes,” Queen Latifah, who once appeared on “Empire” in a crossover episode with her Fox show “STAR”, admitted: “I don’t even know what to make of it.

“All I know is that I hope everything works out in the end and everybody basically comes out unscathed.”

Smollett reported in January that he was attacked by two men yelling racial and homophobic slurs. Chicago police initially called it a possible hate crime, but now allege that Smollett hired two acquaintances from “Empire” – brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo – to help him stage the assault.

Smollett was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony that is punishable by up to three years in prison. He is out on $100,000 bond and is due back in court March 14th. He has also been suspended from “Empire,” on which he’s starred since 2015. Smollett has continually maintained that he did not set up the attack.

You can watch the full episode of “Through Her Eyes” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku.

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