“I don’t want to completely blame him.”
Cardi B said Tuesday that she is “really disappointed” in Jussie Smollett and feels like he “fucked up Black History Month.”
The rapper made the comments in an Instagram Live video amid mounting leaks suggesting that Smollett staged a “MAGA”-themed attack against himself. But she expressed hope that the actor is just being framed by Chicago police, who she said are racist.
“Until he says out of his mouth that it was fake and this shit was staged, I don’t want to completely blame him because, you know … police in Chicago are racist, so they might probably try to frame him and make him look like he’s a liar,” she said
Cardi B – who has lately emerged as something of a left-wing culture warrior and feminist critic of President Donald Trump – told her 40-million-plus Instagram followers a personal story in which police allegedly put her in a headlock after they responded to a call about an altercation.
Director Ava DuVernay expressed similar concerns in a tweet Sunday, pointing out how the Chicago police allegedly “covered up shooting Laquan McDonald.”
Despite the inconsistencies, I can’t blindly believe Chicago PD. The department that covered up shooting Laquan McDonald over a dozen times? That operated an off-site torture facility? That one? I’ll wait. Whatever the outcome, this won’t stop me from believing others. It can’t.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 17, 2019
WATCH: Transgender woman who lost it on GameSpot employee is a rapper now
Police are reportedly investigating claims by two Nigerian-American brothers, who worked as extras on Smollett’s Fox TV show “Empire,” that the actor paid them to orchestrate the Jan. 29 assault outside his Chicago apartment, and that they even rehearsed it beforehand. The brothers also reportedly told police that Smollett was involved in a Jan. 22 letter sent to him at the Chicago studio where “Empire” is filmed.
“When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack,” a source told CBS 2. Other sources reportedly corroborated that information.
Police, who were not offering further comment on Monday, are looking into the Osundairo brothers’ account, but they have yet to verify their allegations, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told ABC News. No one has been charged in connection with the case.
Smollett offered his version of the attack last Thursday during an emotional appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America. He said that two men jumped him during a late night run to get a Subway sandwich, pegging him as a gay and black actor from “Empire.” The attackers, he said, used racial and homophobic slurs against him – at one point shouting “This is ‘MAGA’ country!”
After the attack, Smollett noticed a rope around his neck and bleach stains on his clothes, he said.
The actor claimed to be persecuted not just by his attackers, but by American culture more broadly. He said he was “pissed off” about both experiences and blamed Donald Trump for his plight, even though, as host Robin Roberts pointed out, the president had condemned the attack.
“I come really really hard against 45. I come really really hard against his administration. I don’t hold my tongue. I can only go off of their words,” he said, referring to the “MAGA” slogan and slurs he said his attackers shouted.
Meanwhile, Smollett has continued to play the victim. The actor is “angered and devastated” and has been “further victimized” by reports that the men told police that he enlisted them to attack him, his attorneys said in a statement released late Saturday night. They outright denied the claims against their client.
A grand jury will hear the case next week, according to reports.
WATCH: Kamala Harris Is Asked About Her Jussie Smollett ‘Modern-Day Lynching’ Comments