Smollett returned to the red carpet on Sunday after being released from prison early in March, having served only six days of his 150-day sentence for five counts of felony disorderly conduct. He was convicted for fabricating a race hoax and lying to police about being attacked by racist Trump supporters.
Smollett was at the BET Awards to hype his dictatorial debut, and he told viewers that he plans to “expand my empire, so to speak.”
He also wants to “usher in just a new generation of artists, of actors of this amazing talent that’s out there that has so much to tell you,” he told reporters. “That’s what is feeding me.”
Critics on both sides of the political aisle slammed Smollett for acting like he didn’t just fake a hate crime.
That’s crazy how Jussie Smollett is out & about, showing his face like that situation never happened. https://t.co/XE9BifUana
— Brandon (@thepizzapopo_) June 26, 2022
Just a reminder, Jussie Smollett didn’t like being in jail so he was allowed to go home. What type of privilege is that?
— Bill Stewart (@BillSte39899395) June 23, 2022
Jussie Smollett attends BET Awards..with his attacker! *Gasp* https://t.co/ZSNTCU8Seg
— Mara ✡️ (@SoulofSowell) June 27, 2022
Smollett still denies fabricating the race hoax, claiming he would be a “piece of s***” for lying about something so serious.
“If I had done something like this, it would mean that I stuck my fist in the pain of black African Americans in this country for over 400 years,” he said earlier this month.
“It would mean that I stuck my fist in the fears of the LGBTQ community all over the world. I am not that motherf***er. Never have been. Don’t need to be.”