Ellen Page: 'I had no reason to doubt Jussie'

Actress Ellen Page says that she had no reason to doubt actor Jussie Smollett's attack story when it first broke in January while adding that "if this situation was staged, it could make victims even more reluctant to report these crimes.”

Smollett was arrested last week on a felony charge related to his report of a racially charged attack in Chicago. The "Empire" star claimed that two men attacked him, yelling "This is MAGA country!" — in a reference to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE's campaign slogan, Make America Great Again — while pouring a chemical substance on him and attempting to tie a rope around his neck. 

The story grabbed national headlines for weeks before police concluded that Smollett had orchestrated the hoax. The 36-year-old actor strongly denies the charges. 

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"The conversation around Jussie Smollett has led us all to examine hate violence and its implications and aftermath," Page wrote in a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter. "I had no reason to doubt Jussie. My work on Gaycation — the docuseries I produced to chronicle LGBTQ+ stories from around the world — introduced me to many survivors of hate violence. I know how prevalent and pernicious it can be. If this situation was staged, it could make victims even more reluctant to report these crimes. Very real crimes.”

“While the media and public debate the case and await more information, we must not lose sight of the very real, endemic violence that LGBTQ+ people, people of color and other underrepresented communities face every day," she adds.

Page, the star of big-screen hits "Juno" and "Inception," does not address the latest Smollett developments in the column. 

On Feb. 1, she condemned what she believed was a hate crime against Smollett during an appearance that went viral on CBS "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert's program. 

"The urgency is so severe, and yet we have a media that’s barely talking about it,” Page said at the time. “We have a media that’s saying it’s a debate whether or not what just happened to Jussie Smollett is a hate crime. It’s absurd! This shit isn’t a debate.”

“This is what happens,” she added to Colbert. “If you are in a position of power, and you hate people, and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering — what do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused, and they’re going to kill themselves. People are going to be beaten on the street.”

Smollett's next court appearance will be March 14 in Chicago.