ENTERTAINMENT

Queen Latifah Stands By Disgraced Actor Jussie Smollett

Queen Latifah is standing by her pal Jussie Smollett as he faces accusations of paying 2 brothers to beat him up as part of a hate crime hoax.

The ex-Empire actor claimed he was the victim of a hate crime outside his Chicago, Illinois apartment on Jan. 29.

The 36-year-old told police two white male Trump supporters beat him up and tied a noose around his neck while yelling homophobic and racial slurs.

The actor is now facing an uncertain future and a felony charge for allegedly filing a false police report.

He has been dropped as a regular on Empire, but Queen Latifah, who appeared on Empire as Carlotta Brown, is standing by her friend.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 15: Terrence Howard, Jussie Smollet, Taraji P. Henson, Quincy Brown, Lee Daniels and Queen Latifah attend the 2017 FOX Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Latifah, far right, posed with (L-R) Terrence Howard, Jussie Smollet, Taraji P. Henson, Quincy Brown and Lee Daniels in this photo dated May 15, 2017 in New York City.

In an interview with Yahoo News, the openly lesbian actress tells host Zainab Salbi: “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.

“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.”

In related news, Good Morning America anchorwoman Robin Roberts, who is also openly lesbian, grappled with putting aside her sexuality to get her job done as a journalist when she interviewed the openly homosexual Smollett last month.

During The Cut’s “How I Get It Done” event at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge on Monday, Roberts said she tried to be as “neutral” as possible but she acknowledged the pressure she felt to represent the LGBT community.

“I’m a black gay woman, he’s a black gay man. He’s saying that there’s a hate crime, so if I’m too hard, then my LGBT community is going to say, ‘You don’t believe a brother,’ if I’m too light on him, it’s like, ‘Oh, because you are in the community, you’re giving him a pass.'”

Now pushing 60, Roberts regrets fumbling the chance to conduct a career-defining interview.

“It was a no-win situation for me,” she explained.

Smollett is currently out on bond. His next court appearance is March 14.

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