Former Empire star Jussie Smollett has been released from jail just seven days into a 150-day sentence for his involvement in a hate crime hoax.
An appeals court ruled 2-1 in favor of releasing Smollett pending the appeal of his conviction, with the condition he post a $150,000 bond. The justices didn’t elaborate on their ruling. However, Smollett’s attorney, Nenye Uche, had argued that his client could face physical harm while in custody and that his solitary confinement could damage his mental health.
The prosecution disputed Uche’s argument, noting that the Cook County jail discontinued solitary confinement in 2016 and that the prison had taken care to protect Smollett’s physical and mental well-being.
Smollett was sentenced last week to serve five months in jail, in addition to being ordered to pay $120,000 restitution to the city of Chicago, plus a $25,000 fine, and to serve 30 months of probation. He was found guilty of staging a hate crime, in which he claimed to have been attacked by two men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs and put a noose around his neck.
Social media’s reaction to Smollett’s release was heated, with many believing the actor was given preferential treatment.
“This is total BS. If it was any every day Joe, they’d still be sitting in jail,” tweeted one person. “When Jussie Smollett gets released from jail but Julian Assange remains locked up, the world has gone mad,” added another.
“Jussie Smollett shows that the justice system isn’t racist. It’s classist. If a poor nobody did what he did, they’d be doing 5-15 years in prison. Jussie is the epitome of privilege,” wrote another commenter.
This is total BS. If it was any every day Joe, they’d still be sitting in jail. But because he’s a Hollyweirdo and a slew of big names are screaming how unfair his sentence is, he gets a out. [email protected] him.https://t.co/y8fp8SvdbK
— JJ Pesavento (@rdrhwke) March 16, 2022
When Jussie Smollett gets released from jail but Julian Assange remains locked up, the world has gone mad.
— Chase Geiser (@realchasegeiser) March 16, 2022
Jussie Smollett shows that the justice system isn’t racist. It’s classist. If a poor nobody did what he did, they’d be doing 5-15 years in prison. Jussie is the epitome of privilege.
— Whatevs (@j035ich5pach) March 17, 2022
Earlier in the week, Smollett’s former Empire co-star Taraji P. Henson posted on Instagram requesting his release. “My prayer is that he is freed and put on house arrest and probation because in this case that would seem fair,” she wrote. “Please #freejussie.”