Jussie Smollett has been nominated for an upcoming NAACP Image Award, but there are new calls to rescind his submission because of allegations that he planned a hate crime against himself, Page Six reports.
On Monday, Project 21, a black leadership network, released a statement asking the NAACP to withdraw Smollett’s nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series,” as the awards show date of March 30 nears.
Smollett had been indicted on 16 counts of felonious disorderly conduct related to the attack.
In a statement, Project 21 said: “Everyone has a reason to be disappointed with Jussie Smollett right now, and these accumulated reasons justify the NAACP taking swift and appropriate action to remove him from consideration for its Image Award,” Project 21 co-chairman Council Nedd II said in a statement.
He continued: “Smollett is charged with perpetrating a hate crime hoax that wasted valuable police resources and stoked racial tensions nationwide. It hurt our nation’s ability to heal its racial wounds and made the NAACP’s civil rights goals harder to achieve,” Nedd II continued. “The NAACP needs to make it clear that his behavior is not OK by removing him from contention for an Image Award.”
The 50th NAACP Image Awards is set to take place on March 30. The NAACP hasn’t responded yet to whether they will take Smollett’s nomination back.
“The NAACP was founded to help move America beyond our deeply racist past. Generations of men and women – both black and white – have dedicated their lives to that noble cause. It would be nothing short of a slap in the face to those civil rights heroes for the NAACP to now honor Smollett with an Image Award while he’s suspected of using symbols of racial barbarism – including a noose – to shamelessly advance and promote his career,” Project 21 member Jerome Hudson said in a statement.
Last week, Smollett appeared before Judge Steven Watkins along with his lawyer, Tina Glandian who spoke on behalf of the Empire actor, Fox News reports.
Smollett is scheduled to appear in court again on April 17.
The actor alleges he was attacked by two men who beat him, shouted homophobic slurs and poured bleach on him. He said they used the phrase “MAGA country” during the alleged assault.
While first appearing as a victim, Smollett’s case shifted pretty quickly when police identified two brothers who allege that they helped Smollett orchestrate the attack and was paid to do so.
Empire producers and showrunners cut scenes from the show featuring Smollett. But they said they would let justice prevail before deciding whether to fire him altogether.
Project 21 member Greg Parker adds:
Unless he is getting an award for best performance in a fake interview, Jussie Smollett should not be nominated for an award.
I do not believe his actions of late serve to celebrate the accomplishments of people of color. Further, putting racial-solidarity before condemning bad behavior allows such behavior to become the dominant influence in defining our community to society at large.