Jussie Smollett Incident

Kyle Sledge

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“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett claimed he was assaulted by two men late at night in a Chicago street after being yelled at and told that, “This is MAGA country!”  Three weeks later, he was charged with filing a fake police report. Law enforcement maintains his  entire story was a hoax.


On January 29, Smollett filed the report to the Chicago police, saying that around 2:45 a.m. he was approached by two men who were yelling racial slurs, calling him gay, and calling him a black actor.  He said they then started punching him in the face, putting a rope around his neck, and pouring bleach on him. He then told police that as they ran off, they yelled, “This is MAGA country!”  The next day, the police photos of possible suspects. The same day, the FBI got involved with the case. January 31, Smollett’s family spoke on the case, calling it a “racial and homophobic hate crime.” February 1, Smollett spoke for the first time since filing the report. He said that he was working with authorities and, “have been 100% factual and consistent on every level.” On February 12, the police rejected the recordings that Smollett had on his phone.  They said that the records “do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limited and heavily redacted.” On February 14, rumors went around that the case was a hoax, yet police and Fox both denied the claims. Smollett also appeared on GMA, talking about everyone in the media that was slamming him, saying, “It’s not that you don’t believe this is the truth; you don’t even want to see this is the truth.”  February 15, two suspects were put in custody without being charged with any crimes. 48 hours later, the two brothers were released with no charges.


From February 16 on, it became more and more obvious to members of the public that the claim Jussie made was fake.  That day, the two brothers were in questioning and told the police that Smollett paid them to stage the attack.  Smollett’s lawyers said that he was being victimized. The next day the police request a follow-up interview with the new information they received.  Then, on February 19, the police dismiss the report that Smollett was seen with with his assailants on the night of the attack. February 20, Smollett was charged with filing a fake police report after the follow-up interview and approval from a grand jury.  The day after, Smollett turned himself into the police and his hearing was set for 1:30 p.m.

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