Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly faking his own purported attack and could face up to three years in prison.
In a sensational twist to the incident, which was originally considered to be yet another instance of “hate crime” linked to the deteriorating race relations in the US and evoked widespread condemnation, Smollett is now considered a “suspect” for filing a false police report and will be charged based on the evidence which has been presented before a grand jury, a Chicago Police Department spokesman announced on Wednesday (20 February).
Three weeks ago, the actor, who is both black and gay, filed a police report alleging that when he had gone to a local Subway store in Chicago to buy a sandwich, he was accosted by two men wearing red hats who hurled abusive homophobic and racist slurs at him (f-word and the n-word). He also claimed that they tossed a clothesline around his neck, poured bleach on him, and shouted, “This is MAGA country!”
After surveillance camera footage showed they were walking on a sidewalk near where Smollett said he was assaulted, Chicago police questioned two Nigerian brothers, one of whom worked as an extra on Empire.
The brothers claimed that Smollett had paid them to stage the attack. The brothers also told police that Smollett was motivated to stage the attack after he sent himself a threatening a letter and did not receive the attention from co-workers and fans that he believed the letter warranted.
Smollett however has repeatedly denied that he staged the attack and has maintained that he was the victim of a hate crime.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.