“I have personally spoken to Jussie, and he is adamant that he’s telling the truth,” Perry wrote on Facebook on Thursday. “Also, everyone that I know who knows him says that he is not the kind of person who would make up such a horrible and awful thing.”
But the filmmaker and actor added that the evidence “seems to state otherwise.”
“I’m lost for words. To stoke fears and raise racial tensions is wrong in every situation on ALL SIDES!” Perry wrote. “Yet my prayers are still with him and his family and our Nation. CAN WE PLEASE STOP THE HATE!”
Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon on Fox’s “Empire,” reported to Chicago police that two unidentified masked men physically attacked him on Jan. 29. The gay black actor alleged that the men beat him up, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, tied a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him. He later added that his assailants yelled “MAGA country” during the assault, a reference to President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”
Smollett’s story started to unravel when he refused to hand over his phone records to law enforcement. Chicago police later uncovered that the men who allegedly attacked him were two Nigerian brothers, one of whom had been hired as Smollett’s physical trainer.
Police said during a Thursday press conference that Smollett had paid the two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack.
Smollett was arrested and charged with filing a false police report on Wednesday. His bond was set at $100,000 and he was ordered to give up his passport. He is facing a possible prison sentence.