Empire star, Jussie Smollett, stages own hate-crime


Chicago Tribune

Jussie Smollet has pled not guilty to reporting a false police report and will next appear in court early next month.

Mia Steinberg, Contributing Writer

Due to the increase of hate crimes throughout the United States over the past few years, it is unfortunately not hard to believe that an openly gay, black actor could be a victim of a hate crime.  Jussie Smollett is an American singer and actor who appears on the popular show Empire on FOX Network.

On Jan. 29, Smollett reported to the police that at around 2 a.m., two men in masks, whom he claimed were white, assaulted him by yelling homophobic and racial slurs at him.

Smollett claims they proceeded to put a rope around his neck, and poured a mysterious chemical substance on him.  He told authorities that the attack took place in downtown Chicago on the 300th block of East Lower North Water Street. 

Smollett also mentioned to police that the attackers had mentioned something about the MAGA country, relating to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.  However, this attack seemed somewhat suspicious to many people because of the lack of evidence.

After the attack was reported, FOX Network, along with many celebrities, politicians, and others, showed their support for Smollett in his battle against this alleged hate crime.  On Jan. 30, the people of interest for the crime were wanted for further questioning.

These two men were pictured on security cameras with their backs to the camera.  While this was happening, the FBI was also looking into a menacing letter that was sent to Smollett at the Empire production office, which is also in Chicago.  

“Jussie was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice,” said Smollett’s family in a statement made on Jan. 31.

  On Feb. 1, Smollett released his first statement about the alleged incident.  In this statement, Smollett highlighted the fact that he was grateful for the love he received after the attack and that he was going to be ok.

Shortly after Smollett puts this statement out, Eddie T. Johnson, the Chicago police superintendent, said that there should be no reason for skepticism, in response to what people were saying on social media, and that there is no reason to believe that Smollett was not being truthful with the police.  

“I think it was so wrong of him to fake something like this especially since people of color and people in the LGBT community experience discrimination and hate crimes like this everyday,” said sophomore Julia Rapaccuiolo.

Many were suspicious of the story’s reliability due to the lack of facts surrounding the issue.  Also, none of this was captured on any of the security cameras that surround the area where Smollett claimed the event occurred. 

The next big discovery in the investigation was on Feb. 13, when Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who are brothers from Nigeria, were taken into custody by the police for questioning after landing in Chicago after flying in from Nigeria. 

Smollett stated in an interview on Good Morning America that he is certain that the men in the surveillance footage were his attackers.  On Feb. 15, the brothers were identified as potential suspects in the case by the police, but they were released that night without any charges.

On Feb. 16, two men told investigators in the case claimed that they were paid to set up this fake hate crime.  When news of the hate crime being a hoax came out, many people were appalled and disturbed, but some continued to feet sympathy for Smollett as there was still a possibility he had been telling the truth.

“As soon as I found out about the Jussie Smollett case, I was disgusted by his actions of faking his own hate crime, but also felt bad for him because he is not only black, but he also identifies as LGBTQ, so he gets a lot of hate for that,” said freshman Phoebe Levitsky. 

  On the Feb. 20, after FOX released a statement showing support for Smollett, even after the case was suspected of being a setup, Smollett became a suspect in filing a false report.

This was seen as a disgusting act and as a disgrace to society by many people because many minority groups do get abused, and Smollett took advantage of this sickening fact.

FOX has had no recent comment on the criminal report on Smollett.  The next morning, he was arrested by Chicago police and was in custody of investigators who are further investigating the case.  However, evidence against Smollett has since been discovered, which points the guilt towards him.