Jussie Smollett: Fans React After Actor Is Sentenced to 150 Days in Jail

Jussie Smollett in court
Brian Cassella-Pool/Getty Images

Former Empire star Jussie Smollett has been sentenced to 150 days in jail after a jury found him guilty of lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime attack.

Back in December, Smollett was found guilty of five charges of felony disorderly conduct, stemming from an incident three years ago when the actor claimed he was attacked by two assailants. Smollett alleged that the attackers shouted racist and homophobic slurs while dumping a “chemical substance” on him and tying a noose around his neck. However, a court found that he was lying about the attack.

In addition to his jail sentence, Smollett was also ordered to pay $120,000 restitution to the city of Chicago, plus a $25,000 fine, and to serve 30 months of probation. He declared his innocence as he left the courtroom, stating, “If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBT community.”

He continued: “Your Honor, I respect you, and I respect the jury, but I did not do this. And I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in [jail], I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that.”

The reaction on social media was divisive, with some pleased to see the sentence and others questioning it. “Jussie Smollett received more time than George Zimmerman and nearly everyone who tried to overthrow the government on January 6th,” tweeted author Frederick Joseph.

“However you feel about Jussie Smollett & what he did, why does any jailtime, let alone 150 days make sense?” added civil rights attorney Scott Hechinger. “Enormous taxpayer cost. His careers deeply damaged so punishment’s exacted. Forget rehabilitation: he’ll come out far more damaged than when he went in. A costly waste.”

Others didn’t think the sentence was harsh enough, with one person writing, “Jussie Smollett gets 150 days in jail. Not close to enough, but at least he’s going to prison for his lies.” Another commenter added, “Congratulations #JussieSmollett you’ve managed to have both sides go against you and you are too narcissistic to apologize for your actions. You deserve more prison time.”