Chicago Cops Reveal Actor Smollett's Alleged Motive

They say he staged attack because he was unhappy with his 'Empire' salary
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2019 10:25 AM CST
This booking photo released by the Chicago Police Department shows Jussie Smollett.   (Chicago Police Department via AP)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – He wanted a better salary. That's the alleged motive of Empire actor Jussie Smollett for staging a fake assault on himself, according to Chicago police. Chief Eddie Johnson told reporters Thursday that the 36-year-old actor wasn't happy with what he was making on the Fox show and thought he could improve his position as the victim of a hate crime, reports CBS News. The first step taken by Smollett, who is black and gay, was to send himself a threatening, anonymous letter, says Johnson. When that failed to do much, Smollett concocted the idea of having two men attack him in downtown Chicago, say police. He allegedly enlisted two acquaintances, a pair of Nigerian brothers, who've cooperated with police.

"To stage a hate crime of that nature, when he knew as a celebrity it would get a lot of attention ... is just despicable," said Johnson. "Why would anyone, especially an African American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?" Smollett could get anything from probation to three years in prison if convicted of filing a fake police report. Johnson also wants him to reimburse the city. As for the bruises and scratches on Smollett's face when he went to police: "most likely self-inflicted," says Johnson, per NBC News. The brothers "punched him a little bit with gloves," but likely not enough to cause the damage. Smollett said his attackers told him this was "MAGA country," and President Trump joined the condemnation Thursday: "What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?" he wrote. (Read more Jussie Smollett stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
20%
2%
25%
6%
4%
42%