In and outside court, Jussie Smollett fights for reputation, career – The Denver Post

CHICAGO — Outside the courtroom where former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is fighting charges accusing him of lying to Chicago police about being the victim of an anti-gay, racist attack, his publicist has introduced a roster of supporters to the assembled TV cameras.

Renowned opera singer Lauren Michelle, who also appeared on “Empire,” spoke of how one of her best friends from high school has maintained his humanity despite the attacks on his character. Smollett’s pastor from New York, Damon Mack, said the person prosecutors are portraying in court is not “the Jussie I know.”

And activist Bella BAHHS, who met Smollett while protesting the police murder of a 16-year-old, said she doesn’t trust Chicago police not to make things up — including the allegations against her friend.

The daily turns at the microphone are part of a broader strategy underway since Smollett’s trial started at the Chicago courthouse roughly one week ago: trying to ensure the 39-year-old emerges from this scandal and legal troubles with his reputation and career intact, or at least having suffered as little damage as possible, whatever the outcome.

The charges against Smollett — six counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police about the January 2019 attack — are low-level felonies and carry a possible sentence of three years in prison. Legal experts say if convicted he would most likely get probation and be ordered to perform community service.

The impact on his livelihood could be far more serious. Taking the witness stand Monday, Smollett testified that “ I’ve lost my livelihood.” His media relations team, which is led by a former Chicago TV reporter, released a statement to The Associated Press from family friend Fania Davis, who said Smollett already has lost income and “many professional opportunities” due to a “character assassination and disinformation campaign” by Chicago police.

“This is an injury to his personal reputation, to his career and his soul,” said Davis, whose sister is civil rights activist Angela Davis. “He could easily have copped a plea, with a slap on the wrist and then moved on with his life. But he chose instead to stand up to injustice.”

Publicist Danny Deraney, who works with entertainment figures and often takes on crisis PR clients but is not working with Smollett, said the performer will be hurt in any attempt to return to his career because he was far from a household name before, and so many learned his identity because of the alleged attack and charges against him.

“Nobody really knew who he was, unless you watched the show,” Deraney said. “For the time being, I don’t see any other way of people seeing him and not knowing him for this.”

The atypical accusations, the absurdity of his alleged crime and his tendency to be fodder for comedians may hurt him more than accusations, even of serious crimes.

“Being in the public eye as far as being on television or film or whatever it is, that’s going to be hard for him. I don’t think people are going to take him seriously,” Deraney said. “People who become the butt of jokes, of doing things as ridiculous and absurd as what allegedly happened, have a harder time working.”

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Vertical Lobby is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – admin@verticallobby.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment