EUGENE, Ore. -- Local fans of "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who was recently charged with making a false police report, say they're disappointed he took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.
The black and gay star said he was attacked by two men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs, but police say that's not what happened. Smollett is now charged with a felony and had to surrender his passport and post bond to get out of jail.
"To hear that he just made it up is just so frustrating and angering and disappointing because I feel like he was just a voice for people like me and to hear that he abused his power to advance his career and maybe a little pay is just sickening,” Isaiah Nixon said.
Isaiah Nixon is a member of the black and LGBTQ community. He said he has been a fan of Smollett since day one.
"It was really cool to see some representation of people like me on TV and for him to just openly abuse his platform is so unacceptable," Nixon said.
Nixon says Smollett’s actions are going to have repercussions in the community.
"Within the queer community of color, it’s going to create a lot of tension for sure as far as legitimacy of issues," Nixon said.
Some also believe this is going to have a ripple effect on victims who actually go through hate crimes.
"It’s going to make victims second guess themselves over and over again,” Nixon said.
Nixon told KEZI 9 News the fact that people rallied around him initially without question was encouraging and he was one of many shocked to find out his story may not be true.
"People that don't even support gay, black people were coming together to show love and support," University of Oregon student Cameron Lewis said. "To see that that was all for nothing is hurtful and disappointing more than anything."
Smollett is due back in court March 14 when he is expected to enter his plea. If he's convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.
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