Tyler Perry weighed in on the Jussie Smollett case Wednesday and said right now he’s “hoping” and “standing with him” following allegations the actor staged his attack.
“You know I have been fighting for justice for Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos. They were put in a Collier County’s deputy’s car (inaudbile) Steve Calkin back- it’s almost been 15 years now and disappeared,” the 49-year-old actor shared during his appearance on the “Today” show when asked about the “Empire” star’s innocence or guilt in the case. (RELATED: Jussie Smollett On MAGA Hats: ‘I Never Said That’)
Does @tylerperry believe Jussie Smollett is telling the truth? @hodakotb and @craigmelvin ask pic.twitter.com/llYcP0RjjF
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 27, 2019
“So I wish that that case could have gotten half the attention that the Jussie Smollett thing got,” he added. “But listen everybody that knows, he’s adamant that he’s telling the truth.”(RELATED: ‘Good Morning America’ Has Robin Roberts Breaks Silence On Smollett Interview)
Perry continued, “Everybody that knows him that I know, they all say he’s not the type of person that’d ever do that. So, it’s pretty confusing.” (RELATED: Chicago Police Say ‘Empire’ Actor Refuses To Turn Over Phone Records)
“So right now it’s a wait-and-see,” the “Madea’s Family Reunion” star explained, before being pushed further by one of the hosts about if he thinks Smollett is telling the truth about not being involved in the alleged attack.
“Listen, he is so adamant about it,” the filmmaker responded. “And he’s so convincing in his story that I’m just hoping and standing with him hoping that it all turns out in his favor for sure.”
It comes on the heels of reports last week that Smollett was a suspect in the case after first telling police he was attacked near his home in Chicago on Jan 29. He alleged the suspects yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. Smollett also told police that the alleged attackers threw a rope around his neck and threw a bleach-like substance on him.
At a press conference last week, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blasted Smollett for allegedly staging the attack to “promote his career.”
“‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger to promote his career,” Johnson shared. “I am left hanging my head and asking, ‘Why? Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?'”
“‘How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?'” he added. “‘How can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?'”
The “Empire” star has maintained his innocence.