On Tuesday, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office announced that the 36-year-old actor will no longer face charges for allegedly filing a false police report in which he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime. Following the reveal, many of Smollett's fellow actors came out in defense of him.
In a statement to USA Today, Taraji P. Henson said she was "happy that the truth has finally been set free," adding that she "knew it all along."
"We're all happy for him, and thank God the truth prevailed," she said, before adding that she always believed in his innocence.
"I know him and I know his track record. I'm not going to jump on clickbait just because someone says something derogatory about a person I know and love. I'm not easily swayed like that," she said. "Those little clickbait [reports] weren't enough to deter me from his immaculate track record. I know the type of activism this young man does in his community, I know that he's a giver -- he's not an attention-seeker."
"When I know someone, there's nothing you can say to make me flip on them, and that's what we miss in this world," she continued. "We need people that stand by us. Whatever happened to that? Why are we so easy to believe strangers over people we know?"
Henson, who also added that she had yet to speak to Smollett and is unsure about his possible Empire return, also retweeted a statement from 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment, which read: "Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed."
Additionally, Smollett's Empire co-stars, AzMarie Livingston and Gabourey Sidibe, posted the same black-and-white photo of Smollett with text explaining the new developments in his case. Whoopi Goldberg also shared the info graphic.
"Two and a half weeks after filing a 16 count indictment against Jussie Smollett, the prosecution asked the court to dismiss all 16 counts. They essentially conceded that the indictment should never have been filed in the fist place," the photo read. "Noelle pros (short for nolle prosequi) is Latin for 'no more prosecution' and is another way of saying that a case is voluntarily discontinued by the prosecutor. Jussie's record will be fully expunged (cleared)."
"It's weird that y'all decided that the police were being 100% honest about this case," Sidibe captioned her post.
Additionally, Empire producer Diane Ademu-John came to Smollett's defense.
"You've just watched a truly good person get dragged through the gutter," Ademu-John wrote. "I am so happy he's been exonerated before any more damage was done, but make no mistake. Damage was done."
You’ve just watched a truly good person get dragged through the gutter. I am so happy he’s been exonerated before any more damage was done, but make no mistake. Damage was done. https://t.co/ilE0VYDAo7
In a press conference following the announcement, Smollett thanked his friends and fans for helping him get through the "incredibly difficult time."
"First of all I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me and who have showed me so much love," he told reporters. "No one will ever know how much that has meant to me and I will be forever grateful. I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of."
"This has been an incredibly difficult time," he continued. "Honestly one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith and I am a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t. Now I’d like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistakes, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere. So again, thank you for all the support. Thank you for faith and thank you to God. Bless you. Thank you very much."
Meanwhile, both Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel came out against the decision to drop the charges against Smollett.