EBONY obtained a statement from the civil rights organization explaining how it became involved in the case.
“The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is an international human rights/civil rights organization that is committed to advancing the human rights of all people,” the statement said. “When we first heard of Jussie Smollett’s crisis, we reached out to him and “Empire” to see if we could be helpful. Jussie met with us and has given of himself to our organization and the movement for social justice.”
The statement explained the nature of Smollett’s involvement with the organization.
“Jussie is a member of our organization. He, like many other members, has given of his time and talent and continues to do so. During this period of disruption to his life and livelihood.”
Refuting claims of Smollett secretly being issued community service before the dismissal, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition continued, “Jussie has spent time here helping to advance this important work. There was no court-ordered community service here.”
The statement asked that questions in connection to the case be “directed to his counsel and the Office of the State’s Attorney.”
Further distancing the organization from recent rumors, the statement added, “The prosecutors’ decision to dismiss the charges are the prosecutors alone, and Jussie should not be the one to defend the decision. He has maintained his innocence from the very beginning.”
Comments from Rainbow PUSH Coalition came hours after several news outlets claimed Smollett’s recent community service with the organization satisfied Chicago prosecutors enough to drop the charges stemming from his alleged assault in February.
According to TMZ, the actor “logged a total of 18 hours of community service over two days.”
The media outlet accused Smollett of volunteering with the organization for the first time on Saturday, where he put in eight hours of service. Smollett completed 10 more hours of service through “stuffing membership envelopes, working in the group’s bookstore and critiquing its Saturday broadcast,” the site said.
Smollett, who has always maintained his innocence, appeared at a news conference following an emergency hearing where the charges were officially dropped.
The Empire star said, “But I am a man of faith and I’m a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives, or the movement into a fire like this. I just wouldn’t.”
He added, “Now I’d like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistake, I will always continue to fight for justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”
What's Your Reaction?
Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.