In today’s “cancel culture” mentality, celebrities and ordinary citizens who engage in behavior deemed unacceptable can see their careers permanently derailed at the whim of a social media mob.
As one recent report proves, however, such backlash is entirely subjective.
Actor Jussie Smollett, who perpetrated one of the most high-profile hate-crime hoaxes in recent memory, is now believed to be working on a film, “The Lost Holiday,” with actress Vivica A. Fox. The project is reportedly in production and Smollett is said working behind the camera — but his official credit in the film is unclear.
Jussie Smollett Directing New Film With Vivica A. Fox As He Appeals Conviction https://t.co/AiMZUNwg25
— TMZ (@TMZ) June 23, 2023
Smollett, known for his role on the series “Empire,” notoriously blamed supporters of then-President Donald Trump for attacking him during a walk in Chicago in early 2019. Evidence later surfaced that he had paid two individuals to stage the assault and he has since been convicted of five felony counts related to filing false police reports.
Although he was sentenced to five months in jail and the two bodyguards he hired to attack him have testified against him, Smollett continues to plead his innocence and is currently appealing his conviction.
Reports indicate the appeals process could drag on for several years. Meanwhile, Smollett is free to pursue new jobs in his old profession.
And he apparently has more than a few allies in Hollywood who are willing to defend behavior that many people found indefensible.
Nearly 72% of respondents in one poll said they believe the five-month sentence — which also included 30 days’ probation, a $25,000 fine, and more than $120,000 in restitution — was fair. Another 12% said the punishment should have been harsher.
For her part, Fox weighed in on the controversy prior to Smollett’s conviction and said at the time that she wanted to work with him.
“I’ll definitely be doing something with him in the future,” she said in late 2021. “I believe in Jussie. Stand by, he’s good. He’s family, always going to be family.”
Smollett has already received five continuances in his bid to appeal the conviction and thus far has spent just one week behind bars. A judge has ruled out any further delays, however, and a final appeal will be presented in court later this year.