The Rev. Al Sharpton believes Jussie Smollett should face “accountability to the maximum” — if it’s found that he made up the hate attack against him.
The outspoken civil rights leader addressed recent reports that the alleged assault on the black, openly gay “Empire” actor may have been staged with two bodybuilding brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo.
“I, among many others when hearing of the report, said that the reports were horrific and that we should come with all that we can come with in law enforcement to find out what happened and the guilty should suffer the maximum,” Sharpton said Sunday night on his show “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC.
“I still maintain that,” he continued. “And if it is that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetuate something that is not true, they ought to face accountability to the maximum.”
When news of the Jan. 29 attack against Smollett broke, Sharpton immediately spoke out to say he was “outraged.”
“For Jussie, who’s not only a superb actor and singer but an activist who has fought against homophobia and racism and sexism, to be a victim is something that is totally unacceptable,” he told TMZ last month. “I challenge the Chicago law enforcement to do all within their power to find out those that are guilty and they should face the maximum penalty of law.”
Sharpton is no stranger to racially charged hoax cases. In the late 1980s, the then-firebrand local political activist served as the spokesman for Tawana Brawley, a black 15-year-old who claimed she had been raped by six white men upstate. They scrawled racial epithets on her chest and smeared feces in her hair, she alleged.
The stunning case eventually went before a grand jury — which ruled after seven months that Brawley’s story was a total fabrication.
Chicago police said this weekend that their interviews of the Osundairo brothers — who were arrested on Wednesday but released two days later without charges — “shifted the trajectory” of their ongoing investigation.
The latest twist in the case comes as reports emerged that Smollett paid the budding actor-models $3,500 to stage the 2 a.m. attack.
Smollett has maintained that two strangers shouted racist and anti-gay slurs and “This is MAGA country!” before dousing him in a “chemical substance,” likely bleach, and throwing a noose around his neck.
SOURCE: Page Six – Lia Eustachewich