Jussie Smollett insists he’s not ‘a piece of shit’, says he gained clarity from prison

Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett has professed his innocence and insisted he’s “not a piece of shit”.

Smollett, who paid two men to pretend to be racist and homophobic supporters of Donald Trump and attack him with a noose and bleach, was released from a Chicago prison in March after serving a six-day sentence.

The 40-year-old actor opened up about his highly publicized trial on Sway Calloway’s SiriusXM show “Sway in the Morning,” claiming he didn’t lie about the attack.

“If I had done that, I would be a piece of shit. And I don’t think that’s really questionable,” Smollett said in the episode that aired on Monday.

Smollett – best known for his role as Jamal Lyon on Fox’s “Empire” – said that being a gay black man makes it impossible for him to stage the attack.

“If I had done something like that, it would have meant that I’ve driven my fist into the pain of black African Americans in this country for over 400 years,” he told Sway.

“It would mean that I got my fist into the fears of the LGBTQ community around the world. I’m not that son of a bitch. I’ve never been. It doesn’t have to be.”

Seeming to wipe the sweat from his forehead several times throughout the interview, Smollett said he used his six-day imprisonment in Cook County Jail as an opportunity to “reset and regain clarity” through fasting.

“I was not fasting for Lent. I was fasting because that’s what we do in my family, we fast for clarity,” he said, adding that it was “never as clear as I was during those six and a half days.”

The actor said the support he received from his family, in particular his mother, helped him get through the week behind bars.

Sway Calloway and Jussie Smollet
Jussie Smollett addressed her hate crime scandal, brief stint in prison, and the clarity she gained from her experiences on Sway Calloway’s SiriusXM show on June 21, 2022.

“My family – the most wonderful human beings – I live and die for these people. Let me tell you something, Mom, don’t go anywhere. Mom is a house cat.

“She was like, ‘Watch me stay in LA and my baby is in Chicago.’ She didn’t play,” he said as he fought back tears.

Jussie Smollett was taken out of court after being sentenced at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on March 10, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
Jussie Smollett at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Illinois on March 10, 2022 after being convicted of lying to police about a reported hate crime.
Getty Images

Smollett opened up about his experience of being held in a cell for six days, saying he was thrown into a psychiatric ward.

“God knows I wanted out. I was in the psychiatric ward… I was sleeping in a containment bed, but I wasn’t trapped,” he said.

“I have to keep the truth, everyone inside was very kind and when I left I thanked everyone. I said, ‘I don’t know what you guys think anyway, but the fact that you didn’t let me know what you think anyway and you just showed me respect, I’m grateful.’”

Despite allegedly being thrown into a psychiatric ward during his time in prison, Smollett says he used his prison time to “reset and regain clarity”.
Scott Olson/GettyImages

Smollett said he was forced to “surrender” himself during his brief time in prison.

“There’s something about being there and you have no choice but to surrender. Not to the system, not to a judge or a bunch of old white men ironically explaining to you about the history of hate crimes, but you’re giving yourself away,” he said. “You are left there with you, your thoughts and these walls.”

“I believe the prison system needs to be dismantled,” he added.

Smollett was initially sentenced to five months in prison following his conviction on five counts of disorderly conduct for lying to the police. He was ordered to pay the City of Chicago $120,000 in restitution and a $25,000 fine after being found guilty.

Smollett was accused of lying to police when he reported that two masked men physically attacked him, shouting racist and anti-gay comments near his Chicago home in 2019.
Scott Olson/GettyImages

Defense attorneys argued that Smollett was unconstitutionally charged twice with the same crime after the Cook County State Attorney’s Office originally agreed to drop his case in 2019.

During the interview with Sway, Smollett’s friend and “B-Boy Blues” co-star Brandee Evans joined in on the fun, praising her friendship with the troubled actor.

“This is my real friend,” Evans said. “I love Jussie. Jussie has been my ride or die. When my ex-husband left me I was literally at Jussie’s house. I love my friend, he was there for everything with me.”

Sway Calloway, Jussie Smollett and Brandee Evans
Smollett was also joined by friend and actress Brandee Evans during her appearance on the Sway show.
EMPIRE: LR: Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett and Terrence Howard at
Smollett starred opposite Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard in the hit FOX sitcom “Empire” before being cut from the show’s fifth season as a result of its hate crime controversy.
Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Smollett found fame at an early age, landing roles in films such as “The Mighty Ducks” and “North” at age 10.

The child star, who hails from California, went on to star alongside her five real-life siblings in ABC’s “On Our Own” from 1994 to 1995.

Smollett later landed a lead role in Patrik-Ian Polk’s LGBT-themed comedy drama The Skinny.

After putting his name on the map in Hollywood, the actor went on to guest star on “The Mindy Project” in 2012, and “Revenge” in 2014.

Later that year, Smollett landed the role of a lifetime in “Empire” opposite Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard. His character was cut from the final two episodes of the show’s fifth season as a result of his hate crimes controversy.

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