“Contractually, all I gotta do is not fake a hate crime.”
The “Saturday Night Live” alum’s quips follow the controversial dismissal of all charges against Smollett last week by the Cook County State Attorney’s office.
“Yeah, they gave me a role on ‘Empire,’” Morgan said. “Contractually, they gave me millions of dollars. Contractually, all I gotta do is not fake a hate crime.”
Some uncomfortable groans from audience members could be heard in response to Morgan’s remarks. “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon paused and took a double-take after he heard the comedian’s opinion on the Smollett case.
When Fallon pressed Morgan on whether he believed Smollett’s account of being attacked by two “MAGA”-hat sporting racists on a frigid January night in Chicago, the “30 Rock” actor expressed his skepticism.
“Nah, man. C’mon. First of all, racist people don’t be jumping nobody in the polar vortex,” Morgan said. “‘It’s too cold. We be racist in the spring.'”
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He also referenced reports that Smollett miraculously held onto his Subway sandwich throughout the alleged attack. “He didn’t let that Subway sandwich go!” Morgan said.
Morgan isn’t the only comedian to take aim at Smollett in recent days. While presenting onstage Saturday at the NAACP Image Awards, comedian Chris Rock blasted Smollett, calling the “Empire” star a “waste of light skin.”
“They said no Jussie Smollett jokes,” Rock said. “I know. What a waste of light skin, you know? You know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be outta here, fucking running Hollywood.”
“What the hell was he thinking? From now on I ain’t never gonna (say) no Jussie — you’re a Jessie from now on. You don’t get the ‘u’ no more. That ‘u’ was respect. You don’t get no respect from me,” he added.
Public attention on Smollett flared up last week after 16 charges of disorderly conduct for making a false statement against him were dropped Monday during an emergency court hearing. Media outlets reported that the Chicago Police Department was “furious” about the decision.
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Smollett, 36, black and gay former star of Fox’s “Empire” TV show, reported to the Chicago Police Department on Jan. 29 that he was assaulted by two masked men who called him racist and homophobic slurs and shouted “This is ‘MAGA’ country!” He said his assailants poured what he believed was bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.
Police at first investigated the incident as a possible hate crime, and many other celebrities, activists, politicians, and journalists rushed to condemn not just the attackers but the supposed state of Trump’s America.
In February, Smollett was arrested and charged with staging the crime in an apparent effort to garner attention and sympathy. Fox would cut ties with the actor shortly after, removing him from the final two episodes of the season.
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- Tracy Morgan.: Screen grab