*Jurnee Smollett-Bell has opened up about the controversy surrounding brother Jussie Smollett’s alleged 2019 hate crime attack.
The actress addressed the incident for the first time in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, in which she admits that the ordeal has “been f—king painful” for her family.
“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 said.
Despite allegations that Jussie orchestrated the attack on himself, the former child star believes in his innocence and continues to defend her brother.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I love my brother and I believe my brother,” she said.
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— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 5, 2020
After she filed to end her ten-year marriage to Josiah Bell, Jussie briefly moved in to support her.
“I mean, f-ck, man, I look at him sometimes and I’m like, ‘He’s so strong,’” she said.
Smollett was charged last year with 16 felony counts for falsifying a police report but the charges were dropped after he agreed to forfeit his bond. A special prosecutor charged him again in February.
Two Nigerian brothers claim they were paid by Smollett to stage the racist and homophobic attack against him back in January 2019 in Chicago.
Smollett has pleaded not guilty and maintains his innocence.
As for what he’s up to these days, Junee said, “he’s staying creative, as creatives do, singing, writing, working on music.”
Elsewhere in the THR interview, the actress shared that she has been sexually harassed on every TV and film set since the age of 12, with the exception of one, per MadameNoire.
“I don’t know that I can confidently say that I worked on one job prior to ‘Lovecraft’ — from the time I was 12 on — where I hadn’t been sexually harassed, whether it was by an AD, a co-star, director, producer,” said Jurnee.
On one particular project, things got so bad that she asked to be removed from the film.
“And they let me out,” she recalled.
Read her full THR interview here.