The Strange Saga of Actor Jussie Smollett’s Staged Attack

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The Strange Saga of Actor Jussie Smollett’s Staged Attack

Jussie Smollett's booking photo released by the Chicago Police Department after the actor was charged with falsifying a police report.

Jussie Smollett's booking photo released by the Chicago Police Department after the actor was charged with falsifying a police report.

Jussie Smollett's booking photo released by the Chicago Police Department after the actor was charged with falsifying a police report.

Jussie Smollett's booking photo released by the Chicago Police Department after the actor was charged with falsifying a police report.

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A strange letter with crushed powder appeared at Fox studios on Jan. 22, depicting cartoon stick figures and homophobic slurs. Fox ignored this childish warning, prompting further action from whomever sent the letter.

It was 13 degrees at two in the morning in Chicago on January 29, when singer and cast member of the Fox television show Empire Jussie Smollet was walking to get a Subway sandwich. Suddenly two characters wearing MAGA hats jumped him, bleaching his clothes, kicking his face, and yelling “this is MAGA country.” They then tied a noose around his neck and escaped the scene. Smollett then –  noose in tow – strolled back home and called his manager.

When the police did finally arrive hours later, Smollett wouldn’t let the police go through his phone or turn their body-cams on. The phone, Smollett stated, has many private pictures that he doesn’t want getting out to the public. And the body-cam? He was opposed because he was afraid it would make him look “weak.”

Smollett’s story seemed shaky from the start. Why would the actor leave his apartment in the freezing winter of Chicago to get a Subway sandwich?

The following day, the police released surveillance footage from the attack featuring two black men walking around the area.

Smollett’s fame exploded. His public statement and appearance on Good Morning America made him the hottest trending person in America. He continued to stick to his story, stating he has been “100% factual and consistent on every level and that he believes that justice will be served.”

Overnight, Smollett went from a C-list celebrity with a $36,000 per-episode salary to almost starting  a race riot. Smollett became a poster child for victims of hate crimes everywhere.

However there was one problem: Smollett’s story of the attack was slowly being exposed as one giant lie.

The Chicago Police Department’s later statement shed more light on the absurd situation. On February 5, two suspects were picked up and questioned by the police. After 47 hours of questioning, they were released without charge.

During this time, the Empire cast and crew stepped in to “stand behind” Smollett as the allegations against Smollett were gaining ground. They would soon retract this sentiment.

The suspects spilled on everything. Brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo – as they were later identified – were close friends with Smollet. One was his personal trainer, and the other brother acted with Smollett on Empire where he began supplying Smollett with the popular club drug Molly. As this news broke, Smollett was tipped off that he might be taken off of the show.

This wasn’t Smollett’s first instance of lying to law enforcement. In 2007, he was pulled over for drunk driving and told the police that he was his brother. Smollett was charged with false impersonation, driving under the influence, and driving without a valid license. He was sentenced to two years probation and a mandatory alcohol education program.

The powdery substance in the above mentioned letter turned out to be crushed Ibuprofen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. But police still don’t know if it was Smollett or the Osundairo brothers who sent the letter. Not that it matters because it was Smollet’s idea regardless.

Chicago police also revealed that on January 25, Smollett had texted the Osundairo brothers, “Might need your help on the low.” That day, Smollett discussed his first master plan utilizing gasoline and a rope, giving the brothers a one-hundred-dollar bill to purchase the tools for the “attack.” The Osundairo brothers were caught on video tape purchasing said tools for the attack.

The plan changed to bleach instead of gasoline and went on as planned. Smollett became a star for being a victim of a hate crime, and any critics of his story, such as Joe Budden or Ben Shapiro, were called out as victim-haters. The common conception being we should never question alleged victims. Instead of skepticism, they are to treated as heroes simply for the act of reporting their alleged victimhood.

The Osundairo brother’s claim, “We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.” The brothers also stated that they didn’t know how Smollett received any wounds since they “didn’t hit” with intent to harm. Reportedly, Smollett’s facial wounds were all self-inflicted.

Many of those following the Smollett story have been under the impression that Smollett stupidly paid the brothers by check for the attack; however, the $3,500 check was actually a personal training fee.

On February 20, a felony disorderly conduct charge was issued against Smollet for falsifying a police report, which carries a possible three-year prison sentence. The following morning, he turned himself in, later posting $100,000 bail.

Smollett was released from police custody without his passport, sparking debate over what punishment fits his crime or if he even deserves any punishment at all.

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson blasted Smollett for his hoax, stating, “This is shameful because it painted this city that we all love and work hard in, in a negative connotation. To insinuate and stage a hate crime of that nature when he knew that as a celebrity he’d get a lot of attention [is] despicable. It makes you wonder what’s going through someone’s mind.”

And therein lies the question. Why? Smollett has indicated that financial gain was the driving motivator. Perhaps, he felt that the fame he gained through his victimhood would bring him a bigger payday from Fox.

If that is the case, then Smollett’s plan has backfired in a major way as he has been fired from the Empire cast and will be hard pressed to find any further employment in the entertainment field. He is also being severely criticized by the same people who came to his defense when he first reported the fictional attack. Those people fear that true victims of hate crimes will now be less likely to be believed when reporting the crimes.

What started out as a ploy for fame and financial gain has virtually ended Smollett’s career, begging the question, “Jussie, was the extra 15 minutes of fame you were seeking worth what you have now lost?”

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