Jussie Smollett is in hot water this week after police revealed that they are investigating the attack on the Empire star as having been staged.
According to Page Six, Jussie Smollett allegedly promised to pay two of his friends $4,000 to stage an attack of a racist and homophobic nature. The men reportedly rehearsed the staged attack.
The two attackers, a pair of Nigerian brothers, reportedly told Chicago police that the attack was orchestrated by Smollett. They allege that the attack was supposed to happen before January 29, as they had practiced it days beforehand.
As many fans will remember, Jussie was taken to the hospital after claiming he was the victim of a hate crime last month. The actor told police that he was stopped by two masked men, who poured a chemical substance on him, physically assaulted him, and then put a rope around his neck, all while screaming racist and homophobic slurs at him.
However, the suspects were taken into custody and later released, after they allegedly told cops that it was Jussie who was behind the attack. The two even presented the rope that they used to put around his neck.
The brothers were released without charges, and are said to be fully cooperating with police officers while staying at an undisclosed location. Cops claim that the men have a “relationship” with Jussie, and have even worked on Empire with him.
Chicago police have stated that if Jussie Smollett is proven to have orchestrated the attack against him, he will face charges of his own.
After reports that the actor may have paid his attackers to stage the entire incident, Smollett released a statement via his lawyer, revealing that he was the victim of a hate crime, and is now feeling victimized yet again due to the allegations against him.
“He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying,” the statement said.
“One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity,” Smollett’s lawyers continued.
After the attack, Jussie Smollett received an outpouring of love from his family, friends, co-stars, fans, and other celebrities, who spoke out in disgust over the attack.