Saturday Night Live lit into Jussie Smollett following his arrest for allegedly staging an attack against himself, an attack that he alleged was motivated by racism and homophobia, according to The Independent. The star of Empire was charged with filing a false police report in the bizarre case, which originally brought Smollett sympathy from fans and supporters. But his story ultimately fell apart under scrutiny. After combing through dozens of hours of surveillance footage from the area where Smollett claimed the incident took place, police could find no evidence of any such attack.
SNL regular Chris Redd took on the role of Smollett in the sketch, which was designed as a parody of Shark Tank, called Shark Tank: Legal Edition. The four “sharks” waiting for Redd’s Smollett included Kate McKinnon’s unhinged portrayal of Rudy Giuliani and show host John Mulaney as Alan Dershowitz.
“You won’t believe this, but I was just attacked outside the studio by Donald Trump himself,” Redd says as Smollett.
When the panelists question him on the veracity of the claim, “Smollett” asks if there are cameras outside, and he immediately retracts his story. The panelists then go on to ask him why is there.
“Because I broke humanity?” he replies. “But if you take my case I’m offering spoilers for the next season of Empire. I die.”
The show also took a swipe at Dershowitz, who, as a celebrity lawyer, has defended the likes of Patty Hearst, Mike Tyson, and Jim Bakker, and who won on appeal in the Claus von Bülow trial, who was accused in the murder of his wife, Sunny von Bülow. Dershowitz also was a member of O.J. Simpson’s legal “dream team,” and recently, has gone to the mats defending President Donald Trump on more than one occasion.
In character as Dershowitz, Mulraney tells Redd’s Smollett that he is all that he could hope for in a client.
“Jussie, you have everything I love in a client,” Mulaney says as Dershowitz. “You are famous and probably guilty. End of list.”
Another of the show’s “sharks,” Fox News‘ Jeanine Pirro — as played by Cecily Strong — can barely contain her excitement over Smollett’s downfall.
“Oh wow!” she exclaims. “A gay black man lied about an attack! I’ve written Fox News fan-fiction about this. But I never thought it would come true!”
Even after the sketch was over, the show wasn’t finished ragging on Smollett. During the “Weekend Update” news segment, Colin Jost did a piece on a man who had been arrested for faking his own abduction in order to get out of paying a $50,000 Superbowl bet.
“Worse, he lost his job on Empire,” Jost said.
Chicago police have alleged that Smollett’s fake attack was staged because the actor was dissatisfied with his Empire salary.