- Jussie Smollett’s reported assault was deemed by the Chicago Police Department as a disgrace to the city of Chicago; it was viewed as disrespect for using racism to up his career.
- Chicago PD released statements that confirmed Smollett’s alleged attack was actually staged by the actor himself, including the ransom letter up to paying off two men to ‘assault’ him.
- Authorities also claimed that the ‘Empire’ celebrity was prompted to stage his own assault due to frustrations of his low salary in the TV show.
In a press conference on Thursday, Chicago Police Department Supt. Eddie T. Johnson condemned Jussie Smollet’s alleged attack, calling it a disgrace for using ‘the pain and anger of racism to further his career.’
He also stated that Smollet staged the assault as a publicity stunt fueled by his dissatisfaction with his “Empire” pay.
Smollett sent the ransom-style letter himself prior to the Jan. 29 assault, but when it didn’t work, he paid two men $3,500 to choreograph the attack, said Johnson. He later confirmed that the checks the actor wrote to pay off the men were checked out by police.
“As a black man who spent his entire life living in Chicago, I know the racial divide that exists here. How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?” said Johnson.
According to TMZ, in his initial Jan. 29 report to police, Smollett said two men attacked him with rope and bleach while screaming racial and homophobic slurs at him. Forty-five minutes after the attack, police arrived and found Smollett with a rope around his neck, arousing some suspicions among the police. Johnson said the minor injuries Smollett showed authorities were possibly self-inflicted.
On Thursday, Smollett was arrested and placed in police custody. He was slapped with felony charges that were approved on Wednesday. If convicted, the ‘Empire’ actor could face up to three years in prison.
While the case has received constant scrutiny from the public including celebrities, news commentators, and presidential candidates, Johnson noted that the Chicago Police Department has not given this particular case special treatment than any other one.
HuffPost reports that Smollett currently receives $65,000 per ‘Empire’ episode. The Fox hit series has approximately 18 episodes per season.