Sunday, Henson shared an image showing the #FREEJUSSIE hashtag to Instagram, saying in the caption that the sentence (which included 150 days in jail) wasn’t aligned with the level of severity of Smollett’s actions.
“I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime,” the Oscar-nominated actress said. “Emmett Till was brutally beat and ultimately murdered because of a lie and none of the people involved with his demise spent one day in jail, even after Carolyn Bryant admitted that her claims were false. No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal. He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING!”
Continuing, Henson argued that for artists, being unable to work at one’s craft is a “prison” of its own. Instead, Henson added, Smollett—who was reported this weekend to have started his 150-day sentence in protective custody—should be released and placed on house arrest.
“To me as an artist not able to create that in itself is punishment enough,” she said. “He can’t get a job. No one in Hollywood will hire him and again as an artist who loves to create, that is prison. My prayer is that he is freed and put on house arrest and probation because in this case that would seem fair.”
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Smollett has maintained his innocence, telling a judge at this week’s sentencing hearing “I did not do this” and expressing what he described as a fear of being harmed while in jail. “If anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself and you must all know that. … I am not suicidal,” he said.