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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Empire Star Jussie Smollett Arrested Over Hoaxing his Attack

Empire actor Jussie Smollett staged a fake attack on himself due to his dissatisfaction with his salary.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a news conference that he “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”.

Mr Smollett is charged with filing a false police report after he said he was the victim of a homophobic attack.

Police say he also had sent a racist letter to himself at a Fox studio.

The 36-year-old star is suspected of paying two brothers to stage the attack.

However, according to the police, they are both co-operating with the investigation, police say.

On Wednesday his lawyers said they would “mount an aggressive defence”.

In a news conference on Thursday, Supt Johnson accused the actor of committing a crime “to further his own profile”.

He said Mr Smollett had betrayed the city of Chicago and said: “this publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve”.

The “hoax”, he said, “received national attention for weeks,” and may deter future hate crime victims from coming forward for fear that their allegations may be met with scepticism.

He called upon the actor “to apologise to this city that he smeared”.

Suspicion over the actor’s allegations started to grow after police said they could not find any video footage of the alleged incident from over 50 surveillance cameras they reviewed.

There were no witnesses present.

But investigators managed to track and identify two men who appeared on video footage near where the actor said he had been attacked through a ride-sharing app.

Police say they have a cheque that Mr Smollett signed and that he had agreed to pay $3,500 (£2,700) for the brothers’ participation.

Supt Johnson said that he had told at least one of the brothers that he was “dissatisfied” with his salary from Fox.

He added that Mr Smollett first “attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language” to Fox studios.

Police confirmed in early February that a letter containing a white powder – later identified as aspirin – was included in the threatening letter that authorities now believe was now sent by the actor himself.

Yesterday CBS Chicago obtained footage which appeared to show two people buying materials, including ski masks that had allegedly been worn by the actor’s attackers.

Jussie turned himself in early on Thursday and is in custody of Chicago police.

More updates to follow.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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