Anthony Anderson Says He's 'Happy' for Jussie Smollett: 'The System Worked for Him'
Anthony Anderson is hosting the NAACP Image Awards, where Smollett was nominated for an award
Anderson, 48, spoke to Variety on Wednesday, ahead of his gig hosting the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday. Smollett was nominated for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his Empire role, though it’s unclear if he will attend Saturday’s ceremony.
“I hope to see him here,” Anderson told the outlet. “I hope he wins. I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color.”
“So I’m glad it worked out for him,” the Black-ish star continued. “It’s not my place or any other person’s place to judge him or what not, but I’m glad that he’s nominated… I hope he wins because I’d be interested to hear his speech.”
It appears Smollett won’t be taking home a trophy, however: ABC News reports that the actor skipped the Image Awards dinner on Friday night, when he lost in his category to Grey’s Anatomy‘s Jesse Williams during the untelevised portion of the show.
Charges against Smollett were dropped Tuesday by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“After reviewing all the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” reads a statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office obtained by PEOPLE.
The office did not, however, fully retreat from its initial decision to bring charges against Smollett or otherwise address PEOPLE’s inquiry on whether prosecutors still believe he staged the attack, saying in a followup statement: “We stand by the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our approval of charges.”
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Smollett told police he’d been physically attacked on the street in his downtown Chicago neighborhood around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 by two black-clad, masked men who used racist and homophobic slurs, doused him with an “unknown chemical substance” and left him with a rope around his neck.
Two men who were acquaintances of Smollett were later arrested and questioned but released after police said the men indicated they worked with Smollett to stage the incident.
Smollett was arrested Feb. 20 after an investigation and indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports.
Police said in a press conference following the arrest that they believed Smollett paid $3,500 to stage a “bogus” attack on himself because he was unhappy with his Empire salary, though a source denied any dissatisfaction with money to PEOPLE.
Smollett, who has maintained his innocence, spoke out Tuesday shortly after the charges were dropped, insisting he has been telling the truth about the attack since the very beginning.
“I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” he told reporters at the Cook County courthouse in Chicago. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of doing what I was accused of.”
Smollett has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series three times prior, and he took home the trophy at the 2017 ceremony. He has also won music-related Image Awards for Empire.
The NAACP Image Awards will air Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on TV One.