On February 4, Empire actor Jussie Smollett reported 2 men attacked him screaming racial slurs and chanting “This is a MAGA country.” Police investigating were calling it a hate crime, and both fans and non-fans of the show were enraged.
Jussie Smollett at arrivals for 48th NAACP Image Awards – Arrivals, Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, CA February 11, 2017. Photo By: Priscilla Grant
Chicago Police Superintendent stated at a news conference on Thursday, “To be perfectly honest, from the very beginning we had questions.” There were several factors that helped solve the case. When Jussie was interviewed at Northwestern hospital on February 29 he claimed he had been beaten by two masked men who shouted racial, homophobic and political statements at him. They threw a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him before fleeing the scene by foot.
After reviewing hundreds of hours of surveillance footage, there was no footage of the actual attack. Police did capture and shared images of the two men. With the obtained images the police were able to track the two men’s movements. When they finally caught the two men they were found at an airport on their way to Nigeria.
Only a few weeks later, Jussie Smollett turned himself in admitting he had staged the attack that night in Chicago. He supposedly paid 2 brothers to stage the attack and gave them specific instructions on what to say and do. Investigators believe the attack was orchestrated because the actor was unhappy with his salary and wanted to get some publicity.
Jussie’s stunt cost him jail time and a bail of $100,000. He was charged with felony disorderly conduct which can be up to three years in prison.
When brought into custody the two brothers admitted to helping Smollett with the staged attack. Police say what really happened, Jussie hired 2 brothers with a check for $3,500. One of the brothers worked with Smollett on his show Empire. Smollett’s attorney says the other brother was Jussie’s personal trainer.
Detectives found the two brothers at O’Hare airport when they returned from Nigeria. They questioned the two men and searched their apartment. They were charged by prosecutors.