On the same day Empire actor Jussie Smollett was arrested in Chicago for allegedly filing a false police report, filmmaker Tyler Perry wrote on Facebook that he was “lost for words” about the development.
Smollett had been in the news since alleging in late January that he was attacked by two men who hit him in the face and tied a rope around his neck while yelling racist and anti-gay slurs.
In the same Facebook post, the Madea creator also brought attention to a missing persons case involving two Florida men, Felipe Santos and Terrance Williams, who went missing in October 2003 and January 2004. They were both allegedly last seen by former Collier County deputy sheriff Steve Calkins and in 2018, civil rights attorney Ben Crump filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him.
“I wish that half the attention that Justice Smollett thing got could have been paid to this,” Perry reiterated on the latest episode of BuzzFeed News’ Profile. “Because it's such an unfair story. It's a modern-day murder, lynching, or whatever he did to them, and they've disappeared and nobody seems to care.”
Perry said he helped Santos’ mother pay for the lawsuit “in hopes that we get information that will lead to a criminal complaint.”
“This man has never faced justice,” Perry said.
Perry emphasized that it’s his “focus to fight for people like that.”
“So me being Tyler Perry, and this woman being helpless trying to get justice for her son, what else do I could I do?” he said.