"Everyone who knows me knows that I love my brother and I believe my brother," Jurnee Smollett-Bell said

By Georgia Slater
August 06, 2020 11:25 AM
Advertisement
Faye Sadou/MediaPunch

Jurnee Smollett-Bell is weighing in on the controversy surrounding brother Jussie Smollett's alleged 2019 attack, revealing that the scandal has been extremely difficult for their entire family.

The actress addressed the incident for the first time in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, in which she told the outlet that it's "been f—king painful" for her family to see Jussie under public scrutiny.

"One of the most painful things my family's ever experienced — to love someone as much as we love my brother, and to watch someone who you love that much go through something like this, that is so public, has been devastating," Jurnee admitted.

While the 33-year-old was "already in a very dark space for a number of reasons," Jurnee said she's tried not to let her brother's situation make her "pessimistic."

Despite the allegations against the actor, Jurnee continues to defend her brother.

"Everyone who knows me knows that I love my brother and I believe my brother," she said.

Jussie, an openly gay black actor, was originally indicted in March 2019 with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing the false report claiming two men attacked him on January 29, 2019, while spewing racist and homophobic slurs.

Smollett, 38, pleaded not guilty to allegations that he lied to police about the incident, which authorities later claimed he had staged with two acquaintances to draw attention to himself.  Later that same month, the charges against Smollett were dropped by the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

Most recently, in February, the Empire actor pleaded not guilty to a six-count indictment which revived the disorderly conduct allegations previously filed and then dropped in the case.

Smollett has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Jessie Smollett
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty

"We are blessed to have a community of people who know him, and know that he wouldn't do this," Jurnee continued.

Since the scandal, Jurnee said she continues to look up to her brother.

"I look at him sometimes and I'm like, 'He's so strong,'" she told THR.

After the charges were dropped, Smollett told reporters, “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”

He added, “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of doing what I was accused of.”

The Smollett family also released a statement at the time, calling Jussie an “innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared” by “painful incidents” throughout the case.

“Jussie is a son, a brother, a partner, a champion for human rights, and a genuine soul who would never be capable of what he was falsely accused of,” the family said. “He was the victim of an assault and then falsely blamed for his own attack … Truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated.”