Jussie Smollett Recently Hosted Documentary on Lynching

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Jussie Smollett speaks during the 'Empire' season 5 world premiere during the 2018 Tribeca TV Festival at Spring Studios on September 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV)
Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV

Actor Jussie Smollett had recently hosted an episode on lynching for the documentary series “America Divided.” The Epix network has since pulled the episode featuring the embattled actor after the actor was arrested and charged of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.

Jussie Smollett appeared in a documentary that specifically touched upon the topic of lynching last May, according to a report by Variety. The Empire actor was a narrator and correspondent in an episode of the Epix documentary series, “America Divided.”

The episode’s director, Lucian Read, told Variety that he was horrified when Smollett’s story initially came out, adding that for him, it was “hard to get away from the coincidence.”

“Of course in this country we believe in innocent until proven guilty and all that,” said Read, “but assuming the allegations are true, I wonder whether coincidence is the right word — to take this truth and turn it into a fiction like that, it’s remarkable.”

Smollett had initially reported that he had been attacked by two men wearing masks, who threw bleach on him and put a rope around his neck.

The actor’s story caused many members in Hollywood, the mainstream media, and the Democrat Party to immediately and uncritically react, spurring a national frenzy.

Newly announced Democrat 2020 presidential candidates, such as Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker, quickly reacted by calling Smollet’s unverified story an “attempted modern day lynching,” and demanding that Congress pass an anti-lynching bill.

Now, the actor has been arrested and charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, as Chicago police say that new evidence suggests that Smollett had staged his own attack.

Read told Variety that the actor had been “a pleasure to work with,” and that he and the producers are still “very proud” of the episode that had been hosted by Smollett, despite the “crazy” and “strange” recent developments.

“We really believed it was the strongest episode in the series and explored issues that need to be discussed in this country,” said Read, “Jussie and all of us were extremely committed to making a great show.”

The network has since reportedly pulled the episode, stating, “In light of – and with respect to – the sensitivities around recent events, we can confirm that Epix is no longer making available the episode of ‘America Divided’ featuring Jussie Smollett.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.


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