Jussie Smollett attack under new scrutiny after CPD won’t substantiate unnamed sources “staged” claim
According to the Daily Beast, the Chicago Police Department is calling reports that Jussie Smollett, a star actor on Fox’s Empire, faked an attack on himself because he was going to be replaced on the show unsubstantiated. Initially reported on right-wing publications like Breitbart and the Blaze, two local news stations in Chicago, ABC 7 and CBS2 also reported that an unnamed source within the investigation had reason to believe that Smollett had orchestrated the attack on himself.
Generally, the police do not comment on ongoing investigations, but due to the extraordinary nature of the appearance of compromising of a sensitive investigation, CPD senior spokesman Anthony Guglielmi released this statement on Twitter: “Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives. Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”
Media reports anout the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives. Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate. pic.twitter.com/iSO5YFv452
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 15, 2019
Earlier on Thursday, CPD detectives confirmed that they had identified two people of interest in the case, whom they identified based on cameras, public transportation records, and information provided by Smollett himself. According to the Chicago Tribune, both of the men were of Nigerian decent, and were picked up on Wednesday at a local airport. One of the men had been both on the set of and appeared in the Fox show.
Both men were brought in for questioning, and a few hours after the men had been questioned, Smollett appeared on the Good Morning America program to tell his side of the story. Smollett described how he had been called homophobic and racial slurs, telling the country, “I could only go off of their words. I mean, who says ‘Fucking Empire n—er, this is MAGA country, n—er, ties a noose around your neck, and pours bleach on you? And this is just a friendly fight?”
It is unlikely that Smollett’s interview on Good Morning America will convince anyone who is determined to believe that his story is hiding something. Smollett has refuted the idea that his attack was part of a “date gone bad” which has been a popular theory on social media. “I’ve heard that it was a date gone bad, which I so resent that narrative,” he told Good Morning America. “I’m not gonna go out and get a tuna sandwich and a salad to meet somebody. That’s ridiculous. And it’s offensive.”
Fox has denied that Smollett would be written off their show by releasing a statement reading, “the idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of EMPIRE is patently ridiculous. He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”