Knowles—the mother of Beyoncé and Solange—took to Instagram on Monday to ask her fans if the actor will see the same “compassion” as Amy Cooper, the white woman dubbed “Central Park Karen,” who called the police on a Black birdwatcher in NYC last year and accused him of threatening her.
Smollett was found guilty on five counts of disorderly conduct for making false police reports that he was a victim of a hate crime.
“The article goes on to say,” Knowles wrote, sharing a CNN opinion piece on the verdict, “both were wrong but Jussie faces possible prison time and Amy Cooper the woman who called the police and lied about the Black man that was bird watching in Central Park was trying to attack her. Leading to the potential arrest of the man where in the history of Black men in Custody could have led to his death. Amy Cooper got off with public service.”
Knowles continued, writing that people will “see the outcome of this for this Black man” and asking if he’ll have a similar sentencing as Cooper.
“I am not condoning what Mr. [Smollett] was found guilty of,” she wrote. “I am just asking will he get the same compassion and understanding of knowingly lying to police. Kyle Rittenhouse walked free after killing two people because the jury had compassion?”
Smollett’s verdict came last Thursday following seven days of testimony from 13 witnesses. The 39-year-old actor claimed he was attacked by two men in masks in Chicago after they shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him in 2019. The attackers were later identified as brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who Smollett knew and allegedly paid $3,500 to help stage the attack with $1 million in compensation if they went along with the lie.
“Besides being against the law, it is just plain wrong to outright denigrate something as serious as a real hate crime and then make sure it involved words and symbols that have such historical significance in our country,” special prosecutor Dan Webb said in court. “At the end of the day, he lacks any credibility whatsoever.”
Smollett faces up to three years in prison, and his sentencing date has not yet been set.