In a strange turn of events, “Empire” actress Taraji P. Henson is backpedaling on claims she made against USC regarding racial profiling. Tonight, the 44-year-old actress attempted “#TurningANegativeIntoAPositive,” when she posted the message below via Instagram.
As previously reported, during a recent interview with Uptown magazine, Henson claimed that her 20-year-old son, Marcel, was racially profiled during a trip to USC. “Then he’s at [the] University of Southern California, the school that I was going to transfer him to, when police stopped him for having his hands in his pockets,” she said.
Henson alleged that her experience was so alarming that it swayed her decision to send Marcel to a historically black college, her alma mater, Howard University, in Washington, D.C. over USC. “So guess where he’s going? Howard University. I’m not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering, ‘Is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus?’ ”
The Department of Public Safety Director John Thomas later responded, revealing that Henson’s claims were very disturbing as he himself has been a victim of racial profiling.
“I was deeply disturbed to read news reports about a prospective student who felt profiled on or near campus because of his race. We encourage reporting of allegations of bias and I hope for the opportunity to have a conversation with the young man and his mother,” Thomas said in a statement released to various news media outlets. “I would like to look into this matter further and better understand who was involved and what took place. As someone who personally experienced racial profiling as a teenager, I have a stake in learning more about this incident and doing all I can to reach a just resolution.
“It is not clear to me which police departments were involved. Any allegation of bias or unequal treatment by university officers would trigger an investigation that I would supervise along with the university’s Office of Equity and Diversity. It is my expectation and that of the university that our department uphold the highest standards of constitutional policing, affording equal rights and respect to all persons,” he said.