Are Chicago police investigating whether Jussie Smollett staged his attack?


Choir Boy Opening Night - Arrivals.

It’s been two weeks since Jussie Smollett was attacked in the wee hours of the morning in Chicago. His story was that he had just returned to Chicago from New York, and he went out to a Subway to get some late-night food. That’s when two white men assaulted him, poured bleach on him and put some kind of rope or noose around his neck, all while calling him racist and homophobic slurs and saying something about how this is “MAGA country.” Jussie was briefly hospitalized, and he has cooperated with the police since the attack. After all of that, people were eager to question Jussie’s story. It was less than 24 hours later before the conservative conspiracists swarmed and claimed he was lying and “hiding” parts of the story, or that he was making up the entire incident. It’s all been a mess.

Anyway, Jussie decided to give his first TV interview to Robin Roberts at Good Morning America. It’s a two-parter, and here are the videos. Jussie answers all of Robin’s questions reasonably, to the point where I felt like Robin was actually getting way too victim-blamey.

I was prepared to carry on about what Jussie said in this GMA interview and how I believed the arguments he made, and I even believed him about why he didn’t turn over his phone. But as soon as I sat down to write all that, ABC Chicago and TMZ reported that two men had been brought in for questioning, and one of them had appeared on Empire with Jussie. Multiple sources now confirm to ABC7 that “police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack allegedly because Smollett was being written off of ‘Empire.’” The issue with that alleged motive is that Smollett was not being written off Empire, according to the writers.

Still, police raided the home of these two men they picked up, and TMZ reports: “Both men are Nigerian and were extras on ‘Empire.’ Based on what the cops have already said, it appears these are the same men who were captured on the surveillance video…police seized 5 bottles of bleach, a red hat, 2 laptops and other items.” CBS Chicago has “sources close to the investigation” confirming that the police are now investigating whether Jussie worked with these two men to stage the crime.

After all of that, now a Chicago PD spokesperson is saying that police are definitely NOT investigating whether Jussie staged it. So what was all this about??

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171 Responses to “Are Chicago police investigating whether Jussie Smollett staged his attack?”

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  1. Nanny to the rescue says:

    My god this is messy.

    Even if he’s 100% victim, and he might really be, he will never be able to shake this off.

    Nor will the MAGA crowd stop using him as an example of “see, fakers” every time a hate crime happens. (And this is why, IF he faked it, he needs to be smacked hard left and right because he’s making it hard for actual victims.)

    • Meemow says:

      It’s so messy! It’s hard to know what to hope is the truth. Do we hope he told the truth, meaning he suffered a horrific hate crime? Or do we hope there was no assault, meaning it’s all made up?

      • Esmom says:

        I don’t know about you but I’d say we HOPE that people wouldn’t always be so quick to discredit the victim of an assault. Too late for that, though.

      • Lua says:

        Sounds like the truth is in between. He may have some how offended these men on the show and they attacked him, but staged it as a MAGA hate crime. This makes sense as to how they were able to track him and send him threats. They’ve worked on set with him.

    • Shrute’s beet farm says:

      It’s incredibly messy. In the last 24 hours, I’ve heard it went down as reported to police, it was a hoax, or Jussie got attacked but he added the hate crime details for…reasons no one can say. I’m going to choose to believe Jussie until there’s actual proof to the contrary and not just hearsay.

    • Lizzie says:

      the police have a bad habit of going above and beyond to make victims of hate crimes and sex crimes look messy…the chicago police have a doubly bad habit.

      • jay says:

        exactly. it’s messy when they want it to be.

      • Kebbie says:

        There was that “Gone Girl” case in California where the woman was kidnapped, raped, and hostage demands were made to her boyfriend. The boyfriend went to police, but they thought he was involved in her disappearance. When the girl was dropped off at her parents house, the cops publicly called it a hoax.

        They missed crucial clues by making that assumption. The perpetrator was eventually caught at another attempted robbery I think, and they found stolen stuff from the “Gone Girl” couple. The couple sued the police department and got millions.

  2. RBC says:

    I still do not believe Jussie would risk his reputation and career by staging this attack. But I do think there are those who would be interested in seeing him lose everything. There were many people commenting how the story was fake when it was first reported.
    Also the fact TMZ has their slimy tentacles on this story gets a side eye from me.

    • Sash says:

      Exactly. There is just no way he would risk his career faking a racist attack.

    • Kitten says:

      Ugh. Exactly.

    • Audrey says:

      He, aside from Cookie Lyon, is my favorite character on Empire, but honestly, I think he would. Remember, any publicity is good publicity. Remember, too, he held a concert in LA the following week. There are rumors that he wanted to increase attention and therefore, ticket sales. See my post later in this thread. I live in Chicago and the facts, when and where the attack took place, just don’t add up.

      • Jan90067 says:

        There was zero reason to stage this to “sell more tickets”. The Troubador, in West Hollywood, is a smallish venue that seats about 400 MAX. That’d hardly be hard for him to fill with Empire fans.

      • Ides of March says:

        I”m with you, Audrey. Something doesn’t add up and hopefully, you’ll get some apologies when the truth does come out.

    • Otaku fairy... says:

      +1. I still don’t think he’s making it up. This has to be very hard for him and his family though.

    • Gail says:

      Agreed. No way this man is that crazy and willing to risk exposure, why?!
      From everything I’ve read, Hollywood is vicious; I wouldn’t be surprised if someone set this up hoping to discredit him.

    • Mina says:

      I don’t know Jussie and I don’t watch Empire. I understand little of this case since there are so many conflicting reports about it. Reminds me a little of the Sherry Papini kidnapping. Could it be that Jussie was really attacked but he exaggerated the racist aspect of it? Or he was attacked but the motive is completely different? There has to be something weird in the whole thing for it to keep being turned around?

  3. xdanix says:

    God, trying to follow these developments last night was crazy. One minute I was reading he was lying, two minutes later I was reading that the story that he lied was a lie… left my head spinning.

    One thing for sure is that the amount of people WANTING it to have been a lie and rejoicing at “proof” of that terrifies me.

    • Esmom says:

      I know, right? My head was spinning trying to figure out what was happening. Even the local media here in Chicago seemed ready to buy the “he faked it” story, which was disappointing and enraging.

      Like you said, the deplorables, one of which I got into a nasty argument, were indeed rejoicing at the possibility of his attack being faked and will never let this go.

    • Kitten says:

      Well deplorables are gonnna deplorable, right? Awful people.

    • Alissa says:

      I was deeply unimpressed with Variety, which is where I found out about the story. they had a headline saying that he staged the attack police say, but then if you clicked on the headline it said that it was based on unconfirmed media reports and that the police department themselves wanted to go on record saying that they weren’t saying that it was a hoax. All I could think was how irresponsible that media reporting was, because how many people saw that head line and said yep I knew he faked it, and didn’t read that actual article.

      • Esmom says:

        Yes, that is what was so crazy about last night, the media leading with the wrong and incredibly misleading angle.

    • isabelle says:

      It is messy because the media is jumping on every little tidbit before the investigation is concluded.. If it happened or not, the make it messy. Let them investigate and then report on it when they release a statement or arrests/ someone is charged.

  4. OriginalLala says:

    Is there some kind of Maga smear campaign against him?

    • Nanny to the rescue says:

      Smear or at least “gloating at his misfortune” campaign.
      It blew up when he mentioned MAGA hats.

      • Bryn says:

        But he never said they were wearing MAGA hats..the media said it. Thats the main problem here..everyone is constantly reporting every little thing said as fact. Its confusing the sh!t out of people and thats why so many think hes lying

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        True, I think he was quoted (possibly misquoted) saying that the attackers yelled “This is MAGA country” and that’s how MAGA even came into play next to the F and N words. The hats were a later addition by dunno who.

        My point is, ever since the MAGA slogan got directly involved (either by him or by the media), the news went up exponentially in the right-wing media.

      • Alissa says:

        I thought both he and his manager had confirmed the initial reporting that the attackers shouted maga country.

    • Esmom says:

      I think there’s a MAGA smear campaign on anyone who mentions the hat in connection with hate. This reminds me of the Covington incident, too, people just being rabidly insistent that anyone in a MAGA hat couldn’t possibly be guilty of anything. It’s crazy disturbing.

  5. Zapp Brannigan says:

    To anyone that may be inclined to ask the question “But why did they not report it to the authorities?” about the victim of any crime, here is your answer loud and clear. In the age of social media it is even worse, no matter the crime, no matter the proof, no matter the character of the victim, someone somewhere will shout “fake news”. I need a holiday from this planet.

    • Esmom says:

      No f%^&king kidding. I’m happy to join you far, far away from here.

    • Kittycat says:

      From the get go, the police have been leaking a lot of the investigation which is so bizarre and unprofessional.

      I can definitely see people continuing to not report crimes because of this example.

      • jwoolman says:

        If I were close to home, I would go home first and assess the damage and maybe call somebody I knew under those circumstances. Running off to the police station is not the first thought for many people.

      • CJ says:

        @jwoolman: I hope you don’t mean it this way, but the way you’ve phrased your comment comes off as blaming anyone who doesn’t act in the way you describe. It’s loaded with implications that anyone going to the police is looking for attention.

        That aside, most of the time there is no “running off to the police station”, the hospital will call police where incident history and injuries gives them reasonable cause to believe a crime was committed. Often the police will come to the hospital to take statements.
        It’s perfectly reasonable to go to a hospital if a mystery liquid has been thrown on you and for them to call the police on your behalf when you explain that you don’t know what the liquid is because total strangers threw it on you as part of an assault.

        Still, agreeing with the overall theme of this thread, the victim blaming displayed in this case is horrendous and no doubt will have an affect on the trust that should exist.

    • Sparkly says:

      You’re absolutely right. It’s heartbreaking.

  6. Sayrah says:

    This story is so crazy. I don’t know what to believe.

  7. Vanessa says:

    I truly believe that Jussie was attack for being a black gay man I think Tmz is the lowest of the low they are horrible bankrupt human being. Their the ones who started this whole conspiracy theory about Jussie possible lying or faking his attack . Jussie is a victim and yet the two individuals who attack Jussie for simply dare to exist are being treated as if their not real I don’t understand how anyone think jussie would fake this for attention you know how hard it was for him to break into the entertainment industry.Are people so easily sway by Tmz their whole website carted to a very specific group of people they trafficked in being the worst of the worst when it comes societies.

  8. Mia4s says:

    “We have no evidence to support their reporting…” is not the same as “definitely NOT investigating”.

    I’m curious about the two Nigerians. He identified his attackers as White? White people can certainly be from Nigeria, but if they are both Black the nature of the attack is a bit confusing. Homophobic sure…but Black Nigerian white supremacist Trump supporters?

    I just….Well, we will see, but it costs nothing to support a victim. Anything else can wait.

    • Nanny to the rescue says:

      I don’t think they would refer to white people from Nigeria as Nigerians. Perhaps they would be called Nigerian citizens. The way this is phrased shows clearly that the two men they are currently investigating are black.

    • Goldie says:

      About 13% of black men voted for Trump. While the majority of black men are dems, it’s not as if there are no black Trump supporters. I’m a Nigerian-American and have some Republicans in my family, though fortunately they did NOT vote for Trump.
      Still, a lot of Nigerians are conservative Christians, and for some people religion Trumps everything. (no pun intended)
      Again, I don’t think the majority of Nigerians support Trump, but it’s not that far-fetched to me that some would.

    • Sayrah says:

      This is where it falls apart. He said they were white among other things. These guys are definitely not white but they had the evidence in their apartment before they left for Nigeria. I believed him immediately weeks ago but this makes it very difficult.

      • Its Ok says:

        They had bleach, a red hat (irrelevant since the attackers didn’t wear red hats), and zero actual evidence. The police haven’t said what was on the laptop if anything. They’re only being investigated because they were in the area around the time of the attack and left for Nigeria the next day. They might be guilty, but having bleach isn’t uncommon. So far, that is the only evidence that ties them to the crime.

    • Jegede says:

      @Mia4s

      “White people can certainly be from Nigeria”

      Naah.
      White Africans tend to be from Southern parts – Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe

      South-East Asians tend to be from the East – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda

      I’m Nigerian and West Africans – Nigeria, Togo, Ghana – are uniformly black.

      The closest you’ll get are Lebanese Nigerians and they’re immigrants.

      • Mia4s says:

        @Jedge, I know it was highly unlikely, but I was hoping to give the victim the benefit of the doubt as to why he said it was two white men. And I must say that any Nigerians I have known over the years, well, none were light skinned enough to be mistaken for White. Even in the dead of night. It’s possible….but….ugh this is all so troubling.

      • isabelle says:

        Names are all over the net because their names were in the search report, they aren’t white.

    • jwoolman says:

      Uh… practically everybody in the country has bleach in their homes. I know that I do.

      The claim about “2 Nigerians” is too weird. Why would anybody stage an attack by 2 black guys and then claim they were shouting a Trumpy MAGA slogan?

    • isabelle says:

      The mens names are already floating all over the net as their name was on the police report. They aren’t white. Also Jussie said the picture of the two figures that were released by investigators did look like the men and said it was them so there is that, and they weren’t white.

  9. Socks says:

    This is a mess.
    I keep going back and forth on whether to believe him or not. I find it suspicious that he would walk to Subway in the middle of the night on one of the coldest days in Chicago. Grew up in Chicago and your aren’t choosing to walk anywhere in that cold. And Subway isn’t that good.
    Also, not turning over his phone?? If someone attacked me like that I would hand my phone right over. I don’t care what’s on it, these people just attacked you.
    Why he would stage it. Who knows. I never heard of this guy before it.

    • Elena says:

      Subway is not good. And when you get Subway your whole place smells like Subway

    • jwoolman says:

      I wouldn’t hand over my phone. I would show them the phone call list maybe, but certainly not give them my phone.

      They would need to verify the call history anyway by other means, since calls can be deleted from the call history. I do that all the time for junk calls and wrong numbers.

      The only possible thing the police would be interested in would be who he was talking with on the phone when attacked. Why would they want the whole phone anyway?

      • Originaltessa says:

        His phone records may also show if he was colluding with someone, like the two extras. If there are records he was calling those guys back and forth, they’d look into that. The phone tells the story of who he was in contact with that day. This is sad.

  10. Originaltessa says:

    Ok, this story is just getting bizarre. I know next to nothing about Jussie, but fake a horrendous hate crime to save your job? That sounds like a plot of a CW soap opera. I really hope he’s not lying. That would be a mess.

  11. CES says:

    Of course they think it’s fake. How could an attack like this happen in 2019? What upsets me is not one MAGA fan on my fb page uttered a word of disgust or horror about the attack but it hasn’t even been 24 hours since this article was posted and they’re already posting about it being fake. They love to call people liars, but God forbid they call out each other for being racist bigots.

    I don’t see why he would make this up. He has a lot to lose and he seems educated enough to know something like that can easily be proven after an investigation. Getting caught lying about something like that would make him a pariah and I can’t imagine anyone in Hollywood would want to work with him. I don’t see someone going through that to lose it all. That seems stupid.

    I hate leaked stories. Until the police conclude their investigation and make their own disclaimer about the incident, we can only speculate. Of course the media or whoever wants you to believe it’s fake and now as you said even if they find it to be true the stupid MAGA nazis will believe it’s fake. They accuse liberals of being media sheep and they’re equally as bad. Ugh hypocrisy.

  12. Oliviajoy1995 says:

    So two black men attacked him? Yelling at him it was MAGA Country or something like that? Or two white men attacked him yelling about MAGA Country? I’m so confused. I love Jussie on Empire so I hope the theories he staged his own attack aren’t true.

  13. TheOriginalMia says:

    That swift denials from Chicago PD and Empire execs made TMZ and that reporter look foolish and irresponsible. Should have verified with sources before tweeting. The case has been tainted. There’s no way Jussie can get justice now.

  14. Wilma says:

    Growing up with two compulsive liars, I am left with no doubt that people can and will lie about things like this. But, what bothers me is that people immediately take to the internet to question everything because ofcourse a man can be attacked for being gay and black in this world. It doesn’t really matter whether this particular incident is real, hate crime is on the rise. So if you are in doubt about this story, why not wait for the results of the investigation to come out instead of immediately questioning something that is a reality and a lived experience for a lot of people?

  15. Audrey says:

    I live in Chicago and am very angry if this is true. I wanted to believe him, but doubted it from the start for these reasons: 1) Streeterville, where he was attacked, is not a place where people walk around in Maga hats. Now, maybe in Bridgeport I’d believe this, but not Streeterville. 2) That night he was attacked at 2am was extremely cold, like around 0 and that doesn’t include the wind chill. Why would guys be walking around at 2am in that cold looking for a gay person of color in that neighborhood There are other neighborhoods that have way more gay people of color.

    Now that they have the two suspects in custody (from Nigeria who were extras on Empire), I believe this definitely wasn’t a random attack. It may not have been staged, but it definitely wasn’t random. The suspects live in Lakeview. If they wanted to beat up a gay man, Boystown is within 1 mile of where they live!! Streeterville is a few miles away.

    If he staged the attack, I am very angry at him for making my city, Chicago, the victim! We have our problems, but we are NOT MAGA country!! It also angers me if not true because this makes it harder for real victims to be believed.

    • Kitten says:

      They weren’t wearing MAGA hats. He never said they were wearing MAGA hats. You have a right to not believe him but at least get the details correct.

    • Lizzie says:

      the chicago PD are looking for good detectives. you should apply.

      i was sure it was coln mustard in the study with the candlestick but you have me convinced it was Jussie, with the MAGA hat, in the alley!

      • Audrey says:

        I just know the city and his story doesn’t make sense if you live here. More info is coming out this morning. It’s an ongoing story. Hopefully the truth will eventually be revealed.

    • jwoolman says:

      Audrey– He had received threatening letters and offered security by the people in charge of the show. He was in his own neighborhood and if he thinks like I do, probably figured it would be especially safe because of the cold. I would expect muggers to be keeping warm, too.

      If you’re dressed properly for the weather, zero degrees Fahrenheit isn’t that bad if there isn’t serious wind. Even the cats will go out for a bit at that temperature. So someone with enough motive might also feel this was a good time to go after someone without witnesses.

      It does not seem like a random attack but rather they were targeting him personally, based on his work on the show. He uses social media and so it wasn’t hard to track his usual movements and to know he was back in town.

      • Audrey says:

        You’re right, but have you been through a polar vortex before?? It’s crazy cold, especially at 2am! But, I agree, it wasn’t random. I can’t say definitively if it was staged, but it wasn’t random.

      • Christina says:

        At some point, and sorry I can’t cite it, it was reported that a woman who lives in the building took her dog out front and she noticed a white man who she described as a “redneck” standing outside of the building looking annoyed. I think she said that she then noticed another across the street. She apparently told someone in the building that it creeped her out, so she went to the police.

        I haven’t seen this reported again. That makes me think the Chicago PD is still seeking evidence, but Jussie’s phone records are being pursued because they haven’t found anything definitive yet. The hot sauce bottle may have dna or something on it, but we won’t jnow until the investigation is over, and we may never know.

      • jwoolman says:

        Audrey- we’re in the path of the polar vortex here in Indiana as well. We had temperatures that made zero degrees seem balmy. And in years past, we’ve had prolonged periods well below zero. My first year in town, it was -20 degrees Fahrenheit for three weeks. It was so cold that the field mice came inside to camp out in my electric stove despite the presence of an enthusiastic cat who hovered over the area and chased them around at 3am. They left as soon as it warmed up to zero…. Poor babies. The cat never caught them, but she had loads of fun trying.

        Another time it went down to -25 degrees for at least one night, according to my neighbor who had an outdoor thermometer. -12 degrees and thereabouts was not uncommon in the olden days (1970s-1990s). We had a long warmer period after that, but it’s been colder last year and this year.

        I have dealt with more frozen pipes and blocked toilet tanks than I care to remember!

        I also grew up in Michigan and Illinois (close to Chicago), so everywhere seems warmer in comparison. But you would be amazed what a difference wearing a mask makes. Much more effective than wrapping a scarf around. The one I use looks like a thick pollen mask but gray due to embedded charcoal (filters out the car exhausts). Keeps the lungs and nostrils warm so even zero degrees doesn’t feel that cold. Makes it much easier to shovel snow when it’s really cold because it isn’t bulky and stays in place easily.

    • Claire says:

      Audrey – I’m with you. I also live in Chicago and raised an eyebrow when I heard about the attack for the same reasons as you. Not that I automatically didn’t believe him, but thought it seemed very odd considering the location (as you alluded to as well) and what was reported to have happened. I really hope that it turns out it wasn’t staged, planned or a hoax – though I hate to think that crazy MAGA stuff like that is going to start happening here in Chicago, a city we know and love. I commented on a thread here a few weeks ago and tried to be very careful about what I said for fear of being skewered.

    • Socks says:

      Right?? It’s odd for him to be out walking around at 2am in that weather, and then 2 other people it as well?? No.

    • A says:

      @Audrey Are you white? I ask this because the perceptions that white people have of Chicago and the reality for black people and other people of colour are often worlds apart. “Chicago is not MAGA country” There are many people who would disagree with you on their lived experience alone. Just saying.

      • Audrey says:

        A, yes I’m white. Don’t get me wrong I know there are a TON of racists everywhere, including this city. It’s just the specifics around this don’t make sense. And, we’re not MAGA country. Hillary won many more votes than Trump in Chicago and in Illinois.

    • Bella Bella says:

      For what it’s worth, with regard to location, I am from Pittsburgh, and the man who killed people in a Pittsburgh synagogue was not from that neighborhood, and everyone was shocked something like that would happen in that neighborhood.

  16. joro says:

    This story has been truly eye opening for me. I always knew to be black and gay was hard but this has really made me emphasize with black LGBTQ.

    Jussie is getting from both sides and it’s so disheartening to see. The racist/MAGA (and some liberal white folks) are out to prove it wasn’t a hate crime based on race and/or the assalients were not white. The homophobes from the black community are trying to also make this whole thing wasn’t a hate crime but a hook up gone wrong.
    It’s so hard to see some in black people work in tandem with racist to prove a black gay man wrong.

    I don’t know why people are questioning this so much. Maybe it’s too much true crime podcasts… It’s not like we haven’t heard about the uptick in hates crimes over the last few years. On twitter we hear about modern day lynchings in small southern communities and queer blacks getting killed. It happens too much in our society. We need to learn to believe victims until proven otherwise.

    I hope Jussie can make it through this mess.

    • B n A fan says:

      “I don’t know why people are questioning this so much.” Maybe because the story don’t make sense and his actions are schetchy. The truth will come to light soon.

      • joro says:

        There are a lot of crimes that don’t make sense. And yet they actually happened. It feels like people were too ready to discredit his story before the investigation even began.

        Also the explanations & motivations people use for this whole thing being a hoax or cover up are so thin. Those reasons sound more “sketchy’ than the actual crime itself.

        Jussie is still a victim. And people should wait before they cast judgment.

    • A says:

      I’m with you. People have always seen fit to behave like armchair detectives at the best of times. It’s been like that now moreso than ever. And it’s so funny to hear people saying this stuff because the reality is…when do you EVER hear about crimes committed against black people. It’s only been since the Trayvon Martin murder that we’ve had the reality of how police and the public at large perceive black people. People have always been content to ignore these crimes unless they can be a convenient tool for their racism (“black-on-black crime in Chicago” for instance).

      I invite people who don’t believe this story to look up the statistics for hate crimes committed against black LGBTQ+ people. If any other group of people were dying at such alarming rates, people would have raised the alarm long before now. Look up people like Ed Buck and Bruce McArthur. The latter had been killing gay men of colour for years and no one bothered to investigate properly because of a combination of racism and homophobia. These weren’t hate crimes, but the lack of care that people feel towards LGBTQ+ folks, especially those who are not white, definitely allowed these people to continue to hurt others, and it’s still allowing people like this to get away with their behaviour because no one gives a sh~t.

      • joro says:

        Thank you.

      • NicoleInSavannah says:

        This whole situation is heartbreaking. I’m white, was assaulted by rich rich upper crust douchebag white boys. I was too afraid to speak out.
        The statistics are incredibly upsetting for this community. I hope he is able to stay strong. Sending all love.

  17. Chef Grace says:

    The cops can find no credible evidence to back up a black mans story.
    Fast forward to present and this story that muddies the waters and how we see Jusse.
    Even if they have no evidence, the job is done.
    Enough doubt tossed in, add a black gay man who made a bad choice to go out to the closet fast food place open and nothing will be done now. Why? Because Chicago is MAGA country. I am just exhausted by this hatred and racism.

    • Audrey says:

      It’s actually not MAGA country. Some of the surrounding suburbs are very conservative, but the city as a whole is liberal. So much so, we have a mayoral race right now and all the candidates are Democrats.

      • Obvious is Obvious says:

        Oh my lord. Please stop inserting yourself all over this post insisting that Chicago isn’t MAGA country. No one said it was. 12.5% in Chi votes for Trump. Almost 133,000 people.

        That’s obviously not a majority but 133k people is still a lot of people.

        Please find a new narrative k thanks bye.

      • demented says:

        Obvious is Obvious, uh, someone did say Chicago is MAGA country: Chef Grace, the post Audrey replied to. Learn to read, please. K thanks bye.

    • Audrey says:

      C’mon Obvious, This isn’t your blog.

  18. Miles says:

    The two people of interest that they have in custody know him as they were extras on empire. They left for Nigeria hours after the attack and came back on Wednesday. The Chicago PD was waiting for them at the airport. Which tells me that the PD were suspicious of them and were waiting for them to come back (if not being ordered back) Based on everything I’ve read about this case either he staged it or someone within his circle set him up.

  19. Co says:

    Bizarre. Waiting for the next plot twist.

  20. Audrey says:

    Hot off the Chicago presses, the two brothers have been identified and will be questioned more today:

    “Smollett follows the brothers on social media and the Osundairos’ attorney told CBSChicago yesterday that the men sometimes work out at a gym with Smollett. Abel Osundairo is an aspiring bodybuilder who used the Smollett song “Ha Ha (I Love You)” as the music track on a posing video last month.”

  21. Thaisajs says:

    I don’t watch Empire and I don’t know this guy at all, but I have always wondered why two random guys outside at Subway restaurant at 2 a.m. would have a rope to make into a noose to put around someone’s neck? But do it so quickly or so out of the way of cameras and there was no evidence? What happened to the rope?

    God, I sound like one of these MAGA people and I don’t mean to. His story just seemed a little dramatic compared to what you normally hear about when someone gets mugged.

    • Goldie says:

      He had been receiving death threats, prior to the assault. It was most likely a premeditated attack. Nobody is claiming that 2 random men just happened to be strolling around with bleach and a noose.

  22. AA says:

    I will echo others’ comments from Chicago (I live here) that this story doesn’t make sense from a logistics perspective if you are familiar with Chicago. I am all over the city with all kinds of people due to my job and I have never encountered any “MAGA” fans (I know they weren’t wearing a MAGA hat but said “this is MAGA country” which if you know Chicago….say what??). If this really happened, I’m very sad for him. But the skeptic in me feels like this is a “coastal” vision of what Chicago is like. Get 50 miles outside the city? Yes. But downtown Chicago at 2AM when it’s 0 outside, with a noose and saying “MAGA”? I just feel like anybody who is familiar with Chicago has bells going off that something is really weird.

    • Esmom says:

      I’m in Chicago too and I hear you but while it’s very blue it definitely has its share of Trump supporters. Not just the blue collar cops and first responders but the rich folks who feel safe living in the city now that it’s been gentrified. As my kids’ CPS school drew in more and more affluent white families, so did support for GOP candidates increase.

      • Audrey says:

        I don’t think Republican dads in Ravenswood are running around Streeterville at 2am. ;)

      • Esmom says:

        No but there are plenty of Republicans in Streeterville, too. You think all the highrises are filled with Democrats? Anyway, my point was to counter your assertion that there are no MAGAts in the city. They may not be wearing hats but they’re there.

      • Kitten says:

        @ Esmom- It really does remind me of the white people here in Boston who claim that Boston is so liberal and racism isn’t a thing here. Not a “thing” to YOU, maybe. White people aren’t the target of racism so maybe we should chill with that sh*t and defer to people of color. Pretty sure they’re a tad more accurate on this particular subject.

    • Rachel MST says:

      I live in Chicago too, and I think the story makes sense if it’s a premeditated attack. It’s highly unlikely that two random homophobic racists were wandering Streeterville at 2am on one of the coldest nights of the year with bleach and a noose, looking for someone to attack. But if it was a planned attack (as it seems it was because of the previous death threats), then the seeming randomness of it all isn’t random anymore.

    • amg says:

      For all who keep saying “there are lots of Republicans in Chicago”, well yeah. Doesn’t mean they are racist, Trump supporters.

      For attacks can’t happen in Streeterville, sure they can. They happen everywhere.

      For the Chicago has a race issue, sure, but it started way before Trump. And it’s too complicated for anyone to try and dissect, solve, place blame on this message board.

      If you really know rich white racist people who live in the city and feel safe because of gentrification, that’s laughable. Nowhere in the city is it safe anymore. That’s the sad truth.

      My hometown, it needs some work.

  23. please be kind says:

    I believe Jussie, regardless of what the evidence says it could have happened and that’s what’s important.

    • Shrute’s beet farm says:

      No, “it could have happened” is not the most important thing. I still want to believe Jussie and I will until police confirm otherwise, but the evidence is absolutely important. If he made up a hate crime, it absolutely matters. It damages everyone, every person of color and every victim, when a false report is made.

    • Christina says:

      I believe him, too.

  24. Veronica S. says:

    Well, if this smear campaign was intended to terrorize minorities further, it’s working. Why report crimes when you get to pay twice?

    • jwoolman says:

      There’s a similar problem for women reporting rape, and many just don’t report as a result even today. From a young age I certainly knew that the police would likely not believe such a report and it would be a continuing nightmare for me if it were pursued in court. And there would be many people assuming I just made it up. Better to just keep quiet.

      That’s really what this all sounds like to me also. If the guy were white and straight, would it even occur to people that he might have faked the attack?

  25. Mstak says:

    I think we have to take every situation seriously but also can’t bury our heads in the sand if evidence comes forth that speaks to the contrary.

    I honestly don’t watch the show and don’t know this actor but hope the truth wins out.

  26. Doodle says:

    Having been the victim of an attack, let me say that your first instinct is not to call police but to find a safe person to talk to. I never reported because there was no evidence and therefore I knew no point. Sadly, that’s the truth of it. (I’m fine, it wasn’t a huge deal in retrospect and I was mostly just scared.). I totally get that he would wait to report. Emotional responses are not rational responses and I don’t understand why more people don’t get that.

    • Kitten says:

      I’ve said it so many times on these threads: real life is not like an episode of CSI. When I was attacked I was left in a state of shock. My first instinct was NOT “call the police”, my first instinct was “whoa what just happened” and then “I’m bleeding and I need to go home”. My friend who was with me at the time was the one thinking clearly who DID call for police and ambulance, thankfully.

    • jwoolman says:

      Yes, if this were actually staged, he would have skipperdeed off to the police station immediately. Waiting would virtually certainly not be part of the plan, but would be quite natural for a real attack.

  27. Sayrah says:

    If he did set this up and claim MAGA supporters assaulted him and tried to kill him, how would he benefit?

  28. Jadedone says:

    Was he able to describe his attackers initially?

    • Audrey says:

      No. His attackers were wearing face masks and gloves.

      • Sayrah says:

        So it IS possible that he assumed they were white if they were wearing ski masks and saying derogatory things and “maga country.” Maybe despite knowing him they hated him for some reason and did this to scare him but it’s also possible that JS asked them to stage this event too. Hopefully the brothers are talking. At some point we have to stop digging in our heels and see we may have been wrong about this.

      • LadyT says:

        Who knows? I’m curious if an accent was ever mentioned. I don’t know the answer- it just seems pertinent.

      • jwoolman says:

        Lady T – that’s an interesting point. Unless the Nigerians arrived when they were still children, they would have at least some accent. A full-fledged adult Nigerian accent is hard to disguise, it’s very distinctive. He wouldn’t have assumed that they were white if he heard a Nigerian accent.

  29. CES says:

    There needs to be an update to this article. Chicago PD confirmed the article is not correct and they actually have a person of interest.

  30. feebee says:

    This is clusterfuck. The CPD spokesman was quoted as saying they were investigating whether the men were involved or whether the attack happened at all. Why would he put that out there like that? Then he has to turn around but is really cautious by saying rumors of it being a hoax haven’t been confirmed by case detectives. Not “they haven’t ruled it out” but “they haven’t confirmed it”.

    There’s something not right here but at the moment I’m giving the Chicago Police Department and ABC7Chicago all the side-eyes.

    • Kebbie says:

      The Chicago Police Department has been saying all the right things to safeguard themselves legally while not so subtly implying they don’t believe Jussie. Reports about him not handing over his cell phone, reports about them not being able to find video of the attack, none of that was necessary to put out into the public realm. Then saying reports of it being a hoax are unconfirmed rather than outright denying it’s a hoax…they have wanted people to question Jussie’s version of events from the beginning.

      Even if it does end up that it was a hoax, I doubt they had enough information to definitively prove that from the beginning, so either way they were wildly unprofessional by putting those details out there. The public doesn’t need to know about their doubts until they can say with certainty that it didn’t happen or it was staged.

  31. Audrey says:

    Latest news is that the brothers are now suspects. From the Chicago Tribune: “Chicago police said Friday that the two brothers being questioned about a reported attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett are now “potential suspects,” and detectives have “probable cause” that they may have committed a crime.”

    • Sayrah says:

      Well they found the materials in their apartment and didn’t they confirm they’re the ones on the video? The question is as acquaintances of JS were they asked to do this by him or someone else or did they do it in such a way that he believed they were racist Trumpsters? This is all so messed up.

      • me says:

        What I don’t understand is that Jussie said the attackers were White but they had masks on so how does he really know? If he still insists the attackers were White, why are two Black men being questioned? This is all so confusing. Maybe Jussie just assumed the men were White? You should never assume, as this is how innocent people end up in jail. This whole story is insane. I truly believe he was attacked. I don’t see why Jussie would do this for attention. It isn’t hard to believe a gay Black man in America could be attacked.

      • Audrey says:

        I think it was what they said, “MAGA country” or whatever, that made Jussie assume they were white racists. They were wearing masks and gloves, I read in one of the outlets that Jussie couldn’t tell their race. Earlier, I was leaning towards staged, but now I’m leaning that this was premeditated by the brothers and not staged by Jussie. So then, what did the brothers hope to get out of beating up Jussie?

      • Sayrah says:

        @me

        No it’s not hard to believe a gay black man was attacked. It explains my initial outrage at the story. But it’s also believable that people lie for attention. Where did the initial threats against him come from?

      • B n A fan says:

        According to JS they spoke to him calling him names and threatening. According to the CPD the men worded on the show with him and I want to believe they have an accent, so JS should have recognized the accent. There is a photo in the news with their door broken down so I’m assuming these are the men JS identified.

      • me says:

        @ Sayrah

        I believe they said Jussie received hate mail a week before the attack. At this point it seems this attack was based on something personal.

    • Yawn says:

      The Nigerian brothers have now been arrested.

      This story just gets weirder by the minute and unfortunately is not looking good for Jussie… I hope he didn’t stage this, that would be awful for real victims of race and hate crimes.

  32. Ocho says:

    It sounds like possibly a premeditated attack by two men who wanted Jussie to assume they were white by saying pro-MAGA, racist words and using a noose. They could be two individuals with a personal grudge against him that has nothing to do with MAGA. MAGA is ugly, but unfortunately, not the only form of ugly in this world.

    • me says:

      That could very well be the case.

    • B n A fan says:

      The two brothers being held by the CPC are friends on JS, they work together on his show according to the exclusive on DM. If he set this up with his friends, he has lost his credibility. It will be hard for him to live this down.

    • Originaltessa says:

      This is the best scenario for Jussie’s credibility. To me this whole story only makes sense if they knew Jussie, well enough to know where he was, and this was a premeditated attack. They disguised their identity and did the whole MAGA thing to throw him off their trail. There was a personal issue they were attacking him over. A random attack by random people waiting with ropes and bleach never made sense. I still think Jussie is innocent. The fact he knew these guys proves nothing to me other than they knew where to find him and cleverly covered their identity with the MAGA stuff.

      • Rebecca says:

        @originaltessa, this is similar to what I was thinking. I was thinking maybe they targeted him for being gay and the attack had nothing to do with racism like many people thought. Further, if they knew him and had planned to do this for awhile, they might have figured out where all the cameras were and where to take him so they wouldn’t be seen.

        I’m still stumped by the report that they said, “This is Mega Country” though. Why say that if they weren’t actually Trump supporters? Would they go that far just to throw the police off the trail? It seems far fetched. Maybe I think that because I dislike Trump so much? Maybe they are Trump supporters?

      • Kebbie says:

        I agree, Tessa. It never made sense to me that two random people knew who he was and that he was gay. There was never any chance it was anything but a targeted attack, IMO.

    • Sayrah says:

      Those guys are huge bodybuilders. They could have really hurt him if they had wanted to. Either this was a hoax or they just wanted to scare him.

      • me says:

        I saw the pics on TMZ, those guys are jacked ! Jussie said one of them punched him in the face, how did he not get knocked out? I definitely think it was a targeted attack and those guys were trying to scare him but didn’t want to cause too much physical harm to him.

  33. Velvet Elvis says:

    Sorry but MAGAts hanging around with a noose and bleach on the streets of Chicago in the bitter cold, on the off chance that Smollett is gonna walk to Subway in the middle of the night, makes zero sense. I think something happened to Smollett but not what he says happened. What’s sad is that there is plenty of violence against POC and lgbtq without having to manufacture it.

  34. Mrs. Peel says:

    If the suspects are of Nigerian descent, that throws Jussie’s claim they were white out the window.

  35. CK says:

    I’m never going to begrudge somebody for expecting the police to go through the requisite hurdles to obtain a warrant and get something. Someone inside that department is leaking things in a manner to paint Jussie in the worst possible light. Had he turned over his phone, there’s a high chance we’d be reading every intimate texts he sent.

    Three things while we wait for the next part of this.
    Anyone that says JS is getting written off of Empire is full of sh*t.
    Shouting “This is MAGA country” is a great misdirection since even people here are claiming that he said his attackers were white. He didn’t. There is even a side of the political spectrum trying to discredit him.
    Friends/Acquaintances are the perpetrators of crimes all the time. That doesn’t suddenly mean the victim was in on it even if those found guilty say he/she was in on it.

    This feels like a premeditated attack carried out by fake friends/acquaintances who are probably now trying to drag JS under the bus with them to get a better sentence/plea deal.

  36. PhillyGal says:

    At this point, maybe it would be a good idea if we all stopped guessing or having hypotheses about what happened. There is an ongoing investigation, and hopefully the specifics of that night will be clearer.

  37. Diabla says:

    Even if the producers had no intention of writting him off, Jussie might have thought they were.

  38. Michael says:

    Now it turns out that Jussie hired these guys to beat him. Career OVER!!!

  39. Bunny says:

    I really want to believe JS.

    There are some problems, though. JS doesn’t get to decide what is and isn’t evidence, and it bugs me that he’s trying to limit the scope of evidence the police have by only handing over edited phone records.

    I understand the racial issues with the Chicago PD, but if he wants their help, he needs to cooperate completely.

    • Sayrah says:

      Some problems?? They have the phone records from the Nigerian brothers and those guys are cooperating. They’re not going to take a fall for Jussie. He set this up for some messed up reason. What’s he going to say next? That they’re lying? It’s over. I predict a statement that he’s checking into a treatment facility to try to avoid charges that are certainly coming.

  40. LT says:

    Latest news on CNN says the evidence indicates he orchestrated it himself. If that is true, it’s incredibly disheartening – he didn’t just obliterate his credibility and career, he’s made it that much harder for every future victim of a hate crime.

  41. Le Freak says:

    The lesson here boys and girls, is that if you’re going to do a fake hate crime at least get 2 guys that fit the description and pay them more then 3500$ in total.
    He went and did something awful for real victims of hate crime.
    From now on and for a long time I would imagine, next time if and when it happens for real, people will roll there eyes and say here we go again.
    The victim will have to fight even harder now to be believed.
    Congrats a-hole you just made it harder for victims to come forward.
    I’m sorry for my language but I’m furious!!!

    • isabelle says:

      Trolling hard aren’t you?

      • Co says:

        How is this trolling? Read the news, he’s officially being investigated as setting it up. What a f-ingmess.

      • isabelle says:

        Obvious is obvious. Also, haven’t seen you on here very much or the other above angsty EMOTIONALLY “why this why oh lord” posters? This isn’t your typical hangout correct?

      • Le Freak says:

        @Isabelle, Not trolling, peeved!! I don’t like it when you support someone and backed them up and turns out to be false.
        This is just as bad as the story of the mom who drowned her own kids in a lake saying it was a black man that car jacked her.
        It divides us all, something we don’t need right now.
        He fooled a lot of us, had cops take away from other crimes for this.
        He needs to be punish, how? I don’t know.
        I would imagine he will be fired from the show, at the very least.
        The rest I just don’t know.

      • Co says:

        @isabelle, sorry honey but I’m not new here. Sounds like you’re the one trolling.

      • Franny Days says:

        @isabelle as you literally troll the comment section. Go to bed, Izzy 😂

      • Abby says:

        @isabelle do you even know what trolling means?

  42. cate says:

    hate to say it but its obvious now that his was a setup by smollett. its pathetic, vile and selfish. real hate crimes occur every day and people suffer terribly. whatever his motives, its irrelevant. his lies and deceit for self interest have caused serious damage to an already divided nation. he casts doubt on real victims and real crimes while furthering the divide and exploiting our issues as a nation. its sickening. what a scumbag. they better charge him for this crap. chicago’s resources could have been put to use elsewhere. he relied on chicagos’ crime stats and reputation. what a garbage human.

  43. OriginalCarol says:

    If true, JS has done so much damage to the future victims of hate crimes. Dude is seriously messed up. What a sicko. .