Adding a new wrinkle in the Jussie Smollet case, ABC7 recently released a report doubting some of Smollet’s claims. When reports surfaced that the Empire star had been attacked, they tapped into an American racial atmosphere currently near its breaking point. With a self-described nationalist president leading the charge against women and minorities, observers viewed the attack as another instance of hate encouraged by President Trump’s ascension. Now, the story is getting more complicated.
The report alleges that Chicago police are now doubting the entire incident, saying:
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“Chicago police told ABC News, ‘Police are investigating whether the two individuals committed the attack — or whether the attack happened at all.'”
ABC7 also alleges that sources tell them Jussie Smollet was in the process of being written off the show, and therefore staged the attack with the two persons of interest. However, on-the-record statements from police and Smollet’s employer, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment, seem to contradict claims of a staged attack.
Representatives from Fox confirmed that Smollet was integral to the show and wasn’t being written off, and Chicago police have said multiple times that they are treating Smollet like a victim and that he continues to cooperate.
One final issue with the case might be the identity of one of the alleged assailants. According to ABC7, neighbors believe the two Nigerian men, brothers captured in a police raid. And they would’ve been acquainted with Smollet for very good reason:
“A source briefed on the Smollett investigation confirmed to ABC News that Chicago police are questioning the two persons of interest — one of whom has appeared on “Empire.”
Though police are still investigating this as a possible hate crime against Smollet, prior contact with the assailants would make it harder for Smollet to claim that they don’t know each other.
The police also confirmed that the persons of interests were not suspects as of this time, and no charges have yet been filed.
Although details of the case are ongoing, suspicions of a faked attack will lend credence to detractors who already take a dim view of LGBTQ and African-American communities.
Feature image provided via VIRIN/Yokota Air Base