Jussie Smollett seems to be pulling out all the stops to make a big Hollywood comeback.
The embattled actor, who had just been released from prison after being found guilty of filing false police reports about a hate crime, appeared at the 2022 BET Awards. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the former ‘Empire’ star said he never thought he would ever get a chance to return to the spotlight. “You know, I never thought I’d work my way back,” he confessed. “It’s always been the plan to sort of expand my empire. Expand the level of what I want to do.” He also shared that he’ll have new music “very soon” and that he’s taking inspiration from it to “just introduce a new generation of artists, actors and this amazing talent that’s out there.”
Smollett went on to thank the fans who continue to support him despite the many setbacks he has endured. “I tell them from the bottom of my heart, just thank you,” he said. “They never wavered, they never jumped the fence and I’m forever grateful for that. I’m not taking this lightly for a moment.” But it doesn’t look like everyone welcomed him, judging by the internet’s reaction to his BET appearance.
Jussie Smollett’s BET participation stunned the internet
Twitter is divided over Jussie Smollett’s performance at the 2022 BET Awards. Some were furious while others welcomed his comeback. “Lmao, no way did that clown @JussieSmollett have the balls to appear at the #BETAwards after making it harder for other hate crime victims to believe with his quip. This is wild,” tweeted one fan. “This is insane how Jussie Smollett is walking around showing his face like this situation never happened,” said another fan. “Jussie Smollett really has no shame,” tweeted one fan .
In the meantime there were fans who simply accepted his comeback. “Seeing Jussie Smollett on the BET red carpet…I’m glad a black guy is beating the #BETAwards system,” one user tweeted. One fan even said they still find Smollett entertaining. “I’m lying too! Not everyone is going to get us, but he’s shameless and a storyteller so I like him a little bit,” they shared. Some even excused his comeback as many others in Hollywood who have committed crimes are walking free. “Every year you will see abusers, sex offenders, convicted felons and addicts walk the BET red carpet and say nothing. So I don’t know why you guys are going to get excited about seeing Jussie Smollett. #BETAwards,” one fan tweeted.
Even after being found guilty in court, Smollett insists he never lied about the alleged assault he witnessed. “If I did that, I’d be a piece of shit,” the actor said on Sway Calloway’s SiriusXM show “Sway in the Morning” (via Page Six). “If I did something like that, it would mean sticking my fist in the pain of black African Americans in this country for over 400 years.”