"All your lil homies got you. We love the hell outta you." That's Empire star Terrence Howard's caption on an Instagram video of Jussie Smollett playing with a small child—possibly Howard's son, USA Today reports. Howard, who plays Smollett's father on the Fox show, also defended the actor against a commenter who believes Smollett orchestrated the alleged Jan. 29 attack against him and claimed it was a hate crime. "Sorry you feel that way but that's the only Jussie I know," writes Howard. "The Jussie I know could never even conceive of something so unconscious and ugly." For more Smollett news:
- Another actor, Columbus Short—who lost his role on Scandal over a 2014 count of felony battery, per an old USA Today story—popped up in Howard's comments section with his own take. "I look up to you Terence," he writes. "You have to take a leadership position. And denounce this (expletive). Otherwise you as dumb as he is. Period!"
- TMZ reports that Smollett may have picked up the notion of faking the attack from Empire creator Lee Daniels, who posted a Jan. 10 Instagram video condemning homophobia and talking about a recent anti-gay attack on his cousin. Sources close to the show say Lee talked more about the ordeal on set, leaving everyone upset and possibly giving Smollett the idea.
- Smollett also narrated a documentary series in May 2018 called America Divided that looks at hate crimes, particularly lynching, notes the Chicago Tribune. Series director Lucian Read says that if allegations against Smollett are true, "it's remarkable" for him to "take this truth about hate crimes and turn it into fiction like that."
(A check Smollett wrote will likely have an effect on his case