Actress Gabby Sidibe has deleted a tweet backing her disgraced Empire co-star Jussie Smollett, as further details emerge over how and why he allegedly orchestrated a fake hate crime incident against himself.
Smollett surrendered himself to police on Thursday morning to face charges of filing a false police report, after police determined he had faked a racist and homophobic hate crime against himself in downtown Chicago last month.
However, Sidibe backed Smollett’s initial version of events, instead blaming the media for questioning his story.
“I know him, I believe him, I stand with him. #jussiesmollett,” Sidibe wrote on Instagram, accompanied by a quote from Malcolm X about how the media discriminates against African-Americans.
“This is the media, an irresponsible media. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and the victim look like he’s the criminal,” the quote read. “If you aren’t careful, the media, the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Yet by Thursday afternoon, Sidibe had deleted the post as further details about the case emerged. According to some reports, Smollett hoped to boost his chances of a pay increase, having become dissatisfied with his salary of over $1 million a year.
Meanwhile, Smollett’s siblings, Jocqui Smollett and Jurnee Smollett-Bell, appear to be still standing by their brother, having refused to delete similar Instagram posts bearing the same Malcolm X quote.
Amid the controversy and ongoing investigation, Smollett has returned to work to shoot scenes for the FOX series Empire. According to TMZ, he apologized to fellow cast members but denied any wrongdoing.
”I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family,” he reportedly told his colleagues. “I swear to God, I did not do this.”