TMZ: Jussie Smollett’s story never made sense, Trump supporters don’t watch ‘Empire’


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Jussie Smollett released a long statement through his lawyers denying all of the reports from the past four days. Smollett is still calling himself a “victim of a hate crime” and said he’s “angered and devastated” by the reports that his attackers were friends or acquaintances, and that if his friends are claiming otherwise, they’re the ones who are lying. He also – justifiably – bashed all of the leaking from the Chicago police department. Almost all of what we know about this situation has been coming from police leaks from the very beginning. This situation might very well end up being a hoax from start to finish, but as Ava DuVernay tweeted:

So, let’s get to the latest all of these police sources have leaked this weekend. According to CBS Chicago (via Page Six), Jussie apparently promised to pay the Nigerian brothers to help him stage the attack:

Jussie Smollett allegedly promised to pay his two pals $4,000 to stage his racist and homophobic assault — which the trio even rehearsed beforehand, according to a new report. The embattled “Empire” star paid $3,500 to bodybuilding brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo before they left for Nigeria the day of the Jan. 29 attack, and promised another $500 upon their return to the US, sources told CBS Chicago.

The brothers told cops that the alleged attack in Chicago was supposed to happen before Jan. 29 and that they practiced it in the days before it happened. Smollett, 36, also allegedly paid for the rope, which was purchased from the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood the weekend of Jan. 25. Sources said one of the brothers held the rope and poured bleach on Smollett during the 2 a.m. attack, while the other donned a red hat and shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him. The red hat was bought at an Uptown beauty supply store.

[From Page Six]

That’s pretty cheap for “staging a hate crime with rehearsals.” TMZ also got a ton of information about what’s next in the case, going forward. Like, a grand jury will be impaneled.

A grand jury will hear the Jussie Smollett case early next week … law enforcement sources tell TMZ. Law enforcement sources connected to the investigation tell TMZ, the 2 brothers who were arrested and then released are staying somewhere around the Loop in downtown Chicago under the watchful eye of police so no one gets to them. We’re told cops especially want to make sure Jussie does not contact the brothers.

We’re told when police raided the home of the 2 brothers they found magazines with pages torn out, and authorities are now trying to determine if the missing pages are connected to the threatening letter that was sent to Jussie 8 days before the alleged attack. Our sources say early on they asked Jussie if he’d sign complaints against the 2 men who attacked him and he was clear that he would. But, when he found out the 2 brothers were the ones in custody we’re told he said he knew them, felt bad for them and declined to sign the complaints. Our sources say although cops believe the brothers purchased the rope that was around Jussie’s neck after the incident, there is no surveillance video at the hardware store because it erases after a week.

The sources say there were red flags from the get-go. Cops were extremely suspicious when Jussie took them out to the area where he said he was attacked and pointed to an obscure camera saying how happy he was that the attack was on video. Turns out the camera was pointing in the wrong direction. Cops thought it was weird he knew the location of that camera. And, there’s this. We’re told investigators didn’t believe the 2 alleged attackers screamed, “This is MAGA country,” because, “Not a single Trump supporter watches ‘Empire.’”

And, a few loose ends … we’re told when cops picked up the 2 brothers at O’Hare Airport, police were armed with 3 warrants for each man, one of which was to seize their phones. We’re also told there is no video of a “rehearsal” of the attack in the street.

[From TMZ]

“Jussie took them out to the area where he said he was attacked and pointed to an obscure camera saying how happy he was that the attack was on video…Cops thought it was weird he knew the location of that camera…” It was, like, a street camera? What was obscure about it? People notice the cameras all the time, especially in big cities. Anyway, this is just a huge mess. Jussie is likely a very disturbed individual, but also: the way the Chicago PD has handled this from the start has left a bad taste in my mouth. “He pointed out a camera, this dude is LYING!”

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123 Responses to “TMZ: Jussie Smollett’s story never made sense, Trump supporters don’t watch ‘Empire’”

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  1. BigGirl says:

    I won’t stop believing others. Something is wrong with JS story but I need the facts. Chicago PD does not get a pass for leaking or being good guys.. institutionalized.racism is their SOP but occasionally they do right by POC.

    • Mia4s says:

      Skepticism about the Chicago PD is understandable, but the one thing that can trump (sigh…) institutionalized racism? Political pressure.

      Empire is a big employer and source of publicity for Chicago, and the alleged hate crime was being commented on and condemned by VERY high level people. No my guess is had the investigation led there, the CPD would have gladly arrested two violent white “rednecks” and taken the political win. Imagine if that had been it, the publicity they would have had: “how can you call CPD racist when they worked so hard and got those two violent racists off the street?! When they got justice for that poor (famous) Black man so quickly?!” You see it right?

      They did pour a ton of resources into this because of the publicity and that’s why it was “solved” so quickly. But ultimately what they found was this mess.

    • Barry Au Aqua says:

      CPD and the Feds questioned the two potential persons of interest in the alleged hate crime attack of Jussie Smollett for two days. The Osundairo brothers said they were friends of Smollett and worked with him and that Jussie paid them $3500 and promised $500 to stage the attack. CPD found the rope in the brothers’ apartment used to make the noose and a cut up magazine that was used to send the threatening letters that Smollett said he received earlier. The brothers said in the days before the attack they all went to the location and rehearsed it all and the night of the attack used a Ride Share to get there.

    • Fuck Head says:

      Jussie’s a liar, a narcsasist, an obstructionist. He’s so delusional, he’s allowed his personality disorder, to get the best of him. As if the guy doesn’t get enough attention? He stages a racsist , hate crime against himself to get more sympathy, and attention? I don’t feel bad for that millionaire assholoe at all. Its a waste of newsprint focusing on such a self centered self loathing prick. Oh yeah, he’s gonna get some attention alright. Lieing to the police. Fabricating a fake assault. Obstructing justice in a police investigation. Wasting tax payer dollars, that could be spent on actual crimes against minorities & gays, that go unsolved, or uninvestigated. Fire him. Revoke his union membership,so he cant work. What a fuckin asshole. Havent we got enough stupid soap opera’s on Tv already? Does anyone really care about that stupid show?

  2. Maddie23 says:

    Lol does anyone still watch empire?

    • Beth says:

      Never even heard of it or Jussie until this happened

    • Alissa says:

      Not as far as I can tell. Everyone I know that was watching stopped either during or immediately after the second season. I honestly was surprised it was still on.

      • jan90067 says:

        I watched it the first year; really liked it. Somewhere in the 2nd year they lost me, and I gave it up completely. I don’t know anyone who watches anymore.

      • me says:

        I watched the first two seasons and then stopped. It’s not interesting anymore.

    • Mina says:

      When it first premiered it was a huge hit. Now, in season 5, it still has an average of 6 million viewers and a rating of 1.9/9 in the segment that matters to advertisers, which is pretty good for a network show, and especially for FOX. I just think it’s one of those shows that don’t get much buzz in social media or in the press anymore, but in terms of $$ it’s still a valued property.

    • Mia says:

      I haven’t watched this season. When it’s on netflix, I’ll binge watch.

    • BchyYogi says:

      I don’t watch “shows”, I get info overload & enough time wasting on social media plus random youtube things. This story – double edged. I do and do NOT want to believe this, but if he staged, it would mean he is unstable. Ugh. This is a tough one, because if he IS unstable, that’s infinity concerning. Sigh.

  3. RBC says:

    Besides investigating if this attack on Jussie is a hoax or not, the CPD should also look into who is the source of all these leaks to TMZ?
    I have said it before, the fact a site like TMZ seems to have “sources” at police departments, hospitals, law offices, etc is very disturbing. Is money being exchanged so TMZ can get an exclusive?

    • NotHeidisGirl says:

      That definitely is worth looking into!

    • Kittycat says:

      Chicago PD from the start handle this case badly.

    • Shrute’s beet farm says:

      TMZ has links on their website…you’ve got a tip, they’ll pay depending on how juicy it is. FWIW, I don’t think the police chief, spokesperson, or lead detective are responsible for the leaks…probably comes from lower-level staff with knowledge of the case who are looking for a pay day.

    • joro says:

      Exactly. These “leaks” are really off putting and suspicious when you put into context the TMZ has a very close relationship with Trump. They shouldn’t have such a long reach into public services.

    • Originaltessa says:

      It’s not unusual for case details to leak to the press. It happens everywhere, all the time. I was under the impression the local Chicago news outlets were breaking most of the real developments in this case. TMZ probably has a deal with one of those affiliates.

      • B n A fan says:

        I thought because JS is a celebrity the CPD was putting out reports for his fans because everyone thought he was badly beaten up. Even Don the Con tweeted about it. Dozens of celebrities tweeted about their shock of what had happened to him. I read some people calling this a modern day lynching ect, ect. I guess the PD wanted fans to know as much as possible. Also, in some of their statements they did not say to much. They never called him a suspect, they were always looking for the two suspects. When JS was interviewed by Robin he said he was sure those were the two who attacked him. Robin asked him how was he sure, he said, “ I was there.” I’m not taking up for the CPD, I don’t live in Chicago. I’ve visited that area. I’m just trying to be fair to everyone. IMO, he needs to come clean, apologize, if he’s culpable, and get help.

        After seeing him on tv I had my doubts about the incident.

    • isabelle says:

      TMZ began may of the rumors which turned out to be not true…like the broken ribs and red hats.

      • B n A fan says:

        According to the police the brothers told them JS gave them the money to buy red caps and rope, they identify the store they bought the caps and the hardware store they bought the rope. CPC has their phones to check out the story. JS is refusing to go back and talk to the police and clear up some inconsistencies. A grand jury will hear the evidence next week so I guess nothing new until then. I’m still wondering how, if true, could he put himself in this situation. What a mess.

    • M.A.F. says:

      TMZ has always been very shady. I read an article by BuzzFeed a while ago that went into how TMZ started, etc. It even went into the design of their website. However, they didn’t fully go into depth (or at least to my liking) about how they always get these exclusives but they do pay for their sources.

      • oddly says:

        Most tabloid outlets will pay for ‘exclusives’ that sources/leakers submit but TMZ actually goes looking for people to pay for information.

    • lboogi says:

      Police departments “leak” to the press all the time. Why are we all suddenly shocked by leaks by the CPD about Jussie Smollett? It’s not new

  4. Rapunzel says:

    I’m just baffled as to why. Why would he do this? Why would he make this up? It’s so unfortunate and unnecessary. MAGA types on my FB are gloating and screaming “fake news,” claiming liberal media isn’t yelling “JS is a liar!” loud enough. So messy. I just don’t get why. I am keeping an open mind, but it’s just looking worse and worse for JS.

    • mm11 says:

      To be like a super famous activist or something like that?

      • Susan says:

        You have hit it on the nail – Jussie’s thirstiness led him to this.The fame he has now, is not enough so the theatrics plus he has an album coming out.

    • mint says:

      I dont watch Empire but I heard on a podcast that his role was going to be written out or that there were talks about it. Maybe he wanted to get sympathy and fame to keep his job or have other options.

    • STRIPE says:

      Idk but people do it. There was someone who bought a cake from Whole Foods, wrote a slur on there, and claimed the baker at WF did it. It was proven to be a hoax almost immediately.

      I would like to think they do it in a misguided attempt to call attention to discrimination in the world, but more than likely they do it for attention for themselves.

    • Shrute’s beet farm says:

      According to initial police reports, Jussie didn’t want to report the incident to police; I think he was pressured into by a friend he disclosed the “attack” to. Based on the information available now, I think it was probably meant to be a stunt to raise his profile as an actor and activist and took a turn for the bizarre when he felt he had to file a report. I don’t think he ever thought it would go this far, which isn’t an excuse but does explain why everything about the case is so strange.

    • Cindy says:

      “MAGA types on my FB are gloating and screaming “fake news,” claiming liberal media isn’t yelling “JS is a liar!” loud enough.”

      This really makes my blood boil. It’s the same thing that happens when a cop gets killed. The right starts whining about how hypocritical the left is because a black kid gets killed and everyone is crying over it, but then a cop dies and nobody talks about it.

      NO. NO. NO. THAT’S A LIE. When a cop dies it’s ALL over the news. They televise their funerals and they show statements from all kinds of authorities about how horrible that is. Everyone on social media talks about it. Leftist media talks about it. In a less rabid, panic-crazed way than the right does, but they talk about it.

      It’s the same thing here. This site is on a pretty radical side of the left spectrum – and they are calling Jussie a liar. Who IS defending Jussie exactly?

      And it just really, REALLY makes my blood boil that they talk about hipocrisy in the left media when these things happen, demanding they be more outraged. Bitch please. I wish the rightist media was just “not outraged enough”. A black kid gets killed by a cop, the right will go out of their way to spread lies about how dangerous that kid actually was and how the cop is some noble, hardworking hero who was simply doing his job.

      That’s why I’m so angry right now. The rightist media always wants to portray victims of sexual abuse and hate crimes as attention-seeking, narcissistic liars. And Jussie proved them right for once. And now that they were right one time, they’ll feel even more justified to keep treating these cases like this.

    • Steph says:

      Didn’t he specifically say that the “attackers” said “This is MAGA country.” Isn’t it understandable that people would want to point out that it was fake? If they associate with MAGA? Especially if they associate with MAGA and are not actually racist. It’s understandable that they are thrilled that this was a hoax. If someone faked a hate crime and pointed the finger at Celebitchy I would think most people here would be spreading the truth once it came out.

      • OriginalLala says:

        “if they associate with MAGA and are not actually racist”

        umm if you associate with MAGA, then you at the very least, support racist views, policies and behaviors.

      • Tessy says:

        How then do you explain all the black Trump supporters? I’ve come across quite a few on YouTube, I think you’d be surprised.

        And no, I’m not Maga myself, just fed up with the political system and able to see the good but mostly bad with both parties liars and warmongers that they are.

    • Wilma says:

      My mom and sister both have borderline and when it was bad (back when they weren’t diagnosed properly) they would definitely do things like this. My sister claimed to other people to have had a lung transplant for a disease I actually have. It’s not with malignant intent, the attention she gets with lies like those feels very urgent to her and makes her feel validated on an existential level. I don’t want to armchair diagnose someone, but from my experience lies like these point to something being very wrong with his mental health. If it is a mental health issue it is sad for him that it played out so publicly.

      • Tuntmore says:

        @Wilma First of all, hugs. Borderline personality disorder is tough on loved ones. (I have some narcissistic PD folks in my family, so I empathize.) It sounds like your mom and sister are doing better, which is awesome. :)

        Second of all, that’s the line of thought I had, too. This is sort of “classic” narcissistic and/or borderline behavior. Grand delusional schemes to get attention, that fall apart under the weight of reality.

  5. mm11 says:

    The “Trump supporters don’t watch Empire” is stupid because you don’t need to see a show to be aware of the people that appear on it but his history was weird from the start like attacking someone at 2 am at -25°C ? Then he barely got any wounds… Maybe someone is setting him up ?

    • Nanny to the rescue says:

      Also, while it’s possibly true that Trump supporters aren’t Empire’s core audience, I’d be willing to bet SOME Trump supporters watch Empire, even if they’re a minority. That sort of thing doesn’t really prove anything.

      I’m a leftie but I read a couple of right-wing forums and sides regularly to escape the echo chamber. I also watch Kirk Cameron films (OK, it’s to make fun of him and them, but the point is I’ve seen several and I’m far far from their target audience).

      All that said, eff Jussie. Dude, I believed you when this all started and wrote off the first alarming signs as conspiracy theories (I saw them very early in on aforementioned right-wing forums). I stand corrected.

      • Beli says:

        The right-wing forums come up with those conspiracies every time a hate crime or whatever hits the news. It’s just shit that this time they happened to be right because now it’ll fuel them next time.

    • Alissa says:

      I will admit that I don’t think Jussie was anywhere near big enough of a star that you would be aware of him if you weren’t watching Empire.

      I’ve heard his name, couldn’t tell you what he looked like or what he was on, and I spend a LOT of my time reading entertainment sites and gossip sites.

      I tried to support him and believe him but had a lot of questions. The one that I kept coming back to was the phone – I understood not turning over your physical phone, because who knows what texts and pictures are on there and TMZ was all over this case already. But I didn’t understand not sharing your phone records to prove he was on the phone with his manager, in order to corroborate his story that his manager heard the attacks. Now it makes sense, if he was trying to hide that he’d been communicating with these two.

      • xdanix says:

        I mean, I’m just one person and obviously can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve never seen a single episode of Empire and I know who Jussie was, I heard of him years ago.

        In fact, thinking about this a little more, it seems to me that IF you were a prejudiced nutjob who DID want to pull off this kind of attack, he might be the ideal kind of target. He’s black, he’s gay, he’s spoken out against Trump, he’s well known enough that this would make news, but NOT famous enough to have a ton of security or a big entourage 24/7.

        Yeah, there’s seemingly a ton of problems with his story, but I don’t think TMZ’s argument holds up in my view. (I say seemingly because I’m really not comfortable writing him off as having lied, not yet, not fully. We don’t KNOW anything for absolute certain yet, and I’ve seen an awful lot of people rush to declare he absolutely without doubt staged this. It certainly LOOKS like he did, but we don’t know it yet.)

  6. Idiotsgalore says:

    Say what you will with the Chicago police but they deal with quite a bit of crime. I bet they knew right away this wasn’t adding up. He’s sitting there with a noose on his neck yet his subway sammich is perfectly intact???? Come on people!!! I didn’t doubt this story until I learned of the details. But dare I say something doesn’t add up without being accused of racism or homophobia. It’s really sad that we cannot doubt a story with holes that includes a POC or LGBTQ without being accused of hate.
    This man is trash!!!! He should be ashamed of himself. He’s contributing to the racial setback. Shame on him!

    • Nanny to the rescue says:

      I just thought the noose still being on his neck was because of the shock. I don’t think victims’ reactions should be analyzed by laymen through rational eyes.
      You have experts, like psychologists and I guess police detectives, who can tell the difference between shock and just odd behaviour, but I don’t think regular yous and mes can do that.

      Agree with your last paragraph tho.

      • Idiotsgalore says:

        I agree I am not the correct person to analyze. I work in women’s health. Did you know that 90% of rape & sexual assault victims change their clothes & shower directly after being violated? Removing all evidence from their perpetrator, leaving the police with little to no DNA. It’s no ones fault. It’s a very common reaction after a traumatic event.
        Granted this isn’t comparable to rape or sexual assault. But in many incidents, what he did isn’t the norm.

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        I didn’t mean he would keep the noose because of common sense of presenting it as evidence. The other way around: I think, rationally, he would rip it off him in anger and fear (and took it to the police), but when in shock, we don’t do rational stuff. He could have walked around all terrified with a noose still around his neck, forgetting it was there for a while.

        And that’s the only point I’m trying to make – that you can’t judge alleged victim’s actions from an armchair somewhere else because their actions sometimes defy logic.

        Like with your own example, we hear all the time that we have to report first, and shower after the police and doctors did their job. We all know that. And yet, the most common reaction is the opposite.

        (You can of course start doubting the story because of details like these, but writing it off too soon because of something that can be explained with shock? Nah.)

      • Oliviajoy1995 says:

        That was always weird to me that he left the noose around his neck but claimed at first he didn’t want to get the police involved. So he didn’t call the police for 45 minutes and just hung out in his apartment with a noose around his neck the whole time claiming he didn’t want to call police? This whole story is such a mess.

    • Sara says:

      Yes, I’m betting that there were little warning bells ringing for the police from the beginning. But, just because there are warning bells doesn’t mean they are always correct – I think it is just part of the job as an investigator to pay attention to everything and see where the evidence leads.

      That is why I take issue with the ‘believe all women’ or ‘believe all victims’ stance. I certainly don’t NOT believe women or victims, I would say I’m inclined to believe until evidence shows that I shouldn’t… but I have a brain and I’m going to use it.

      • LadyT says:

        I agree. I trust that it’s the truth until I start seeing little red flags pop up. I will not do mental gymnastics to make sense of things that are “possible” (I’ve heard too much of that lately) but on a whole are no longer plausible. I’ve had to verify and corroborate facts concerning an incident myself. I was not offended to do what was necessary to establish the truth. It’s just another crappy part of being a victim.

      • Keaton says:

        “I’m inclined to believe until evidence shows that I shouldn’t…”
        Yes this is my stance too.

  7. Shrute’s beet farm says:

    He pointed out the one camera that could have potentially recorded the “attack”, but it was conveniently turned away…that would raise some red flags for me too.

  8. Originaltessa says:

    I thought for sure Jussie was at least attacked and may have been lying about the circumstances. It’s hard to fathom why he’d stage the whole thing. I guess he wanted to be a household name. Well, he succceeded I guess,

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      This is what I thought as well, that he was attacked but was up to something on the grey side of legal at the time so that was why things were not adding up. Will the police make any type of official statement about what actually happened, rather than sources and TMZ?

      Well done on the PR boost I guess (trying to see the bright side here)

      • Katashae says:

        Yeah I watched the first two seasons religiously so I know who he is and think he’s a talented guy. He also comes from a whole big family with lots of siblings in the arts/limelight as well, if I remember correctly. So when it came out I thought well he wouldn’t make the whole thing up so maybe he was doing something shady, embarrassing and or illegal at the time or whatever. To stage the whole thing is just whack. I’ll be interested in what, if any, official statements or details are ultimately released. SO messy.

    • Aoife says:

      It’s SO messed up if it turns out to be true that he staged this, that he took it in the direction of a lynching, that he cried tears for the cameras. Given the sinister details, the noose, the bleach, the MAGA reference, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could have set off a riot that ended in other people getting hurt! How full of himself must he be to play everyone like this?

      • LadyT says:

        Right. See the GMA interview where he cried over how it will inspire little gay boys that he fought back. Touting himself as inspirational. Speaking of fighting, he also said in the interview that he was hit “right in the face,” with “fighting,fighting,fighting” and “kicking him in the back.” Have you seen the physiques on these two brothers? And Jussie had a scratch on his cheek and was dancing undeterred on stage 4-5 days later?

    • Keaton says:

      “I thought for sure Jussie was at least attacked and may have been lying about the circumstances.”
      That was what I was thinking as well. Like maybe he was embarrased about the circumstances. To me that’s BAD, but understandably human. Do you know what I mean?
      But if it turns out he truly faked it, wow. That’s terrible and makes me think he’s got some sort of personality disorder.

  9. Tiffany27 says:

    Trump supporters don’t watch Empire?? They might as well have said “I’m not racist, I have a black friend!” Racists can be entertained by POC.

  10. Esmerelda says:

    It’s a very Hollywood storyline, all in all, the attack and the leaks and the plot twist. Only a Hollywood actor could think he could get away with it… and this fakery will do tangible harm to those reporting real attacks.
    It’s a shame.

  11. Ifeoma says:

    I haven’t made a comment on this story since the beginning. But seriously, fuck you Jussie. Fuck you and every other person who knew about this plan and went along with it. So disgusting that he thought he could make such a sloppy plan and get away with it and go on TV and do interviews. Fuck you.

    • Co says:

      Thank you. Yes. People are focusing way too much on TMZ and criticizing the police. Instead of saying how f*cked up this supposed hoax is. What kind of mind would plot this, let alone carry it out and think it would work?

      • Sayrah says:

        Thank you. People are wanting to get mad at each other or the CPD instead of looking directly at the person responsible.

  12. Beth says:

    Junior really became obsessed, and he nonstop tweeted and retweeted about Jussie and this story over 30 times.

  13. Cindy says:

    As horrible as it sounds, I wanted this to actually be real. Because Jussie Smollett just became every MAGA fanatic’s favorite person. A gay black man hoaxing a hate crime to get attention from liberal media? That’s the sort of fanfiction you’d find on a Trump-supporting subreddit.

    These asshats will make sure we NEVER forget this story. Whenever someone else reports a hate crime, Jussie’s name will be brought up to discredit it.

    I can’t put in words how angry I am at him. That he would do something so stupid and careless just to stretch his 15 minutes of fame. There’s real, normal, non-famous people out there being victims of actual hate crimes. Reporting things like this is already hard, imagine how hard it will be now with this story fresh on everyone’s memory.

    This story goes further than celeb gossip. The moment MAGA hats were mentioned, the right was all over this story because you know how violently they react to being associated with violence. Imagine how happy they are now that everything turned out exactly as they thought.

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah, they will never let it go. This single incident will be dined on for months. Meanwhile Trump will continue to get a pass for his multitude of lies and disregard for the constitution and the rule of law every day.

      • jan90067 says:

        TMZ said it was MAGAt hats. Jussie said RED HATS. Granted, not a stretch… but still. Also, I don’t believe he said they were white. Again, that was TMZ. And we all know how much that loser Harvey Levin loves Fat Nixon.

        Still… with everything coming out, I’m finding it harder and harder to give Jussie the benefit of the doubt.

      • Keaton says:

        I think it will be more than months @Esmon. These jackasses still bring up Tawana Brawley and that was more than 30 years ago. If it turns out this was a hoax, Jussie should be ashamed: He did alot of damage.

    • zwella Ingrid says:

      Just as I wasn’t too quick to believe his story, I’m also not ready to jump on the bandwagon to condemn him. I’ve already posted that I thought it was odd for him to have supposedly been on the phone with his manager when the attack occurred. If that was true, then why wouldn’t the manager have called the police himself? I don’t think I had a single response on here to that question.

      Most of you were ready to rip up the MAGA hat wearing right without waiting for the facts to come out. Now you are ripping Jussie before we know all the facts. How about a little moderation in our condemnation of both or either side? Maybe just not assume the worst of everyone? Is it possible in the future to wait a bit before we pull out our pitchforks against our “enemies”? Maybe extend some grace both ways until the facts are known.

      • Darla says:

        Give me a break. No specific maga was accused, so no specific person needs an apology. The fact that someone invented a story has no effect on the fact that hate crimes have risen since trump took office, that MAGA hat wearing righties are racist, misogynistic bigots, and that they are gleeful over locking babies in cages.

      • Snowflake says:

        I agree, something is not adding up to me. I’m waiting to see the final determination. At this point, the story is colored by media bias, etc, etc.

  14. hezzer19 says:

    I’m withholding judgement until all of the actual facts come out…assuming they ever do.

    I refuse to write JS off based on speculation and “reporting” from outlets like TMZ or “sources connected to the investigation”.

    • Mia says:

      same here. I’m black and from Chicago. me and my friends have doubts but I will wait until the investigate is done. If he lied tho, I got the perfect photo ready to post on my Facebook page. I really hope I don’t have to post this photo. Lying makes it hard for other victims to come forward. especially black, brown and gay.

  15. LeLe says:

    I believed him. At least until some of the inconsistencies came to light. I’ll still always believe first but verify and be open minded to other possibilities. This definitely taught me a lesson. If all this new information is true, and it sounds like it is, I’m so disappointed in him.

  16. Margo Smith says:

    I agree that if jussie made this up, he is definitely very very disturbed. Maybe he didn’t, maybe he did. Time will tell.

  17. Sayrah says:

    So he would rather let his friends, two immigrants that he apparently hired to do this go to jail? As if immigrants have it so easy here these days. Waiting for evidence of the payoff then I hope they throw the book at him.

    • Originaltessa says:

      No, Sayrah. He cooperated in their release. He didn’t want them charged. It’s in tmz’s story.

      • Sayrah says:

        It doesn’t matter if he didn’t want them charged. If these are the guys and based on magazine clippings, bleach, their statements, etc. a victim can’t decide not to press charges. It’s up to the state to decide if they will press charges. If he’s still saying he was attacked, then he’s saying these guys did it no matter how “sorry he feels” for them. He needs to end this charade now.

      • brutalethyl says:

        He didn’t want them charged because then they would have told their story in court. Don’t think Smollet’s such a good friend that his sole concern was the brother’s well-being.

    • jules says:

      Whaaat?? There is no charges on the brothers because there is no crime!

      • Sayrah says:

        Of course but Jussie is still claiming he was attacked. If it wasn’t the brothers (despite all the evidence that they were involved in whatever this was) then who was it? Is he still claiming they were two white dudes yelling racist and homophobic epithets? I guess we’ll have to see what happens with the grand jury.

    • oddly says:

      I just read that the two brothers said they were born in the US so they are not Nigerian immigrants at all

  18. Mina says:

    This sucks overall. If he’s telling the truth, victims of hate crimes and harassment will think twice before denouncing it (at least in Chicago) for fear of not being believed. If he’s lying, people will use it to discredit all hate crimes as hate crimes. I seriously hope he’s been telling the whole truth and hasn’t been embellishing his story, though. That would be seriously messed up.

  19. Valiantly Varnished says:

    As someone from Chicago who still lives here… I will believe Jussie until actual evidence is given otherwise. The CPD is one of the most corrupt police departments in this country. The Macdonald case is just ONE of many cases. Let me tell you a story: when I was about 21 I worked for a large retail company. I worked as a cashier. One day while ringing up a guy he became belligerent about the fact that he couldn’t return an item. Started calling me names, telling me he was going to get me fired. He then pulled out his badge. He was a CPD officer. He told me he was going to ruin my life and kept asking for my name. My manager removed me from the registers and took me to the back. I at this point was in tears and terrified. He refused to leave until they gave him my name which thankfully my managers never did. He eventually left when out security team arrived and threatened to call the cops on HIM. That story is not a one off. The anount of police brutality cases, torture, abuse of power – and that’s just what’s reported. So yeah – f*ck CPD. All of these “leaks” yet not a single charge.

    • Kcat says:

      Jussie is the criminal in this case. I was behind him 100% and now I want to see him charged.

      And yeah, the CPD is corrupt, but it’s made up of individuals that can’t be painted with the same brush. I have 3 Chicago cops in my family. One just retired after working in a unit that dealt with children who were victims. She saw horrible shit. She dealt with horrible criminals. There are good cops out there. They don’t deserve to all be villanized after doing more good for our society than most people.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        Okay? Good for your family. I stand by what I said. And frankly I’m tired of people stating that “there are good cops”. I’m sure there are. I’ve even met some myself. That’s beside the point. My question is this: where are all these good cops when the bad apples give them a bad name?? I haven’t seen a SINGLE cop speak up and out about corruption and brutality within their own departments.

    • leela says:

      If he left after being threatened the cops would be called on him – may be his badge was fake? No snark, because otherwise he would have goaded the security to go ahead. They are all bad eggs anyway – bad cop will cover for the other bad cop. He would not go running. This is not to negate all what you said about the corruption, the brutality, etc. But that just specific instance you mentioned.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        No it was real. I know what a real badge looks like. Ive seen one more than once in my lifetime. Mainly from crimes being committed AGAINST family members and cops investigating.

    • isabelle says:

      Honestly won’t be surprised if he pleads out pleads guilt if he did it. If he really did it, bet you he eventually pleads guilty.

    • Anna says:

      @ValiantlyVanished I’ve lived in Chicago 20 years and I’m with you on this. (And that is also said as someone who is Black and as someone who’s had law enforcement in family and friends.) Can’t trust CPD for second. Let the facts come out–if that’s even possible anymore–and then we’ll see. I don’t actually believe the true story will ever really be revealed.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        Exactly. I am black as well and I know people who are in law enforcement. So my comments don’t exist in a vacuum.

  20. Karla says:

    Maybe he wanted to be like Colin Kaepernick? He suddenly got famous, got that Nike Ad, gained support from other celebrities..(btw,I’m not comparing them)

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      You’re not comparing them…while comparing them. Okay

      • Tuntmore says:

        I think Karla was more contrasting them than comparing them. Colin took an authentic, thoughtful stand that wound up costing him the career he loved; he wasn’t looking to be an activist hero and had no way of knowing he’d one day get lucrative sponsorships despite not playing football. Jussie saw only the effects of being a social activist and decided to try to shortcut his way there. It’s like Woodstock versus Fyre Festival.

    • Harryg says:

      Karla only means Smollett wanted to be Somebody too, and chose what he thought would be the fastest way. Smollett himself brought race issues into this mess, not Karla.

      • Esmom says:

        Good point, if he really did make it up. And it’s a shame because he could have been a powerful activist had he been willing to put in the actual work.

  21. LORENA says:

    I still watch Empire and they have been teasing that one of the main characters is going to die the whole season. When I read that he staged this because he was going to be killed off and wanted sympathy I thought of that, maybe he was the one that was gonna die. The writers denied this tho

    I am so torn about this. For some reason I cannot help but feel bad for him. He has to be pretty disturbed to fake this.

  22. Helen says:

    -25F willingly go out at 2am to get a dang sandwich is one thing (never mind just having the sandwich delivered with a hefty tip, or just going to bed hungry)… bundled up with a scarf, hat etc. due to the cold, to the point where a “celebrity” would be unrecognizable – let alone a less than famous person.

    but two people loitering around, looking to identify a minority they could attack, in that type of weather, where most everybody would be bundled up like the michelin man.. at 2am, no less.. stretches credulity.

    he tried it.

    that said, fcuk the chicago police department forever.

  23. Chaine says:

    I’m really still so confused as to what’s going on. I was open to believe him even though the story was a bit over-the-top. Just going to wait to see what else comes out rather than relying on TMZ “sources.”

  24. Helen says:

    i’ll admit that i didn’t believe the story as it was laid out at first.

    chalked it up to the attack being subsequent to a drug deal or an attempted hook-up gone wrong, and felt really bad that jussie had to dance around the actual circumstances of the attack in order to protect his private life.

    but to *stage* an attack out of whole cloth?? that type of thing should be a felony.

  25. Bella Bella says:

    The political website Vox has a good summary of the whole thing and how so many of these “details” have been from sources outside the police. It’s worth a read.

    • Mina says:

      Interesting read. I would put more weight on it if it wasn’t Vox. Unnamed sources in this type of thing isn’t uncommon. Police obviously can’t outright say they suspect his story, but they did hint at it when saying the focus had “shifted”. TMZ is one of the few tabloids that have credible sources in law enforcement.

      That being said, I can’t get my head around this guy making EVERYTHING up. Would make more sense if they just said he embellished some random attack, but staging it? That’s so convoluted, it almost has to be true.

  26. Jay says:

    1. I practice criminal defense in cook county. CPD are LIARS. There’s a reason we call their police reports an exercise in creative fiction.
    2. I am starting to doubt Smollett’s story.
    3. I will always believe victims until there is a good credible reason not to. That’s been my stance for most of my life.

    • Anna says:

      Agreed. And I think there’s much more going on with his story than we have any idea about right now. I don’t think it can all be ego but I do think the show is involved somehow and to give the benefit of the doubt, maybe he got caught up with a stupid show PR idea that seemed to be a win-win for his activist brand but then wasn’t well-thought-through enough to actually work..?

      • Jay says:

        I don’t think it was all ego either. I can’t keep myself from following all the twists and turns this story takes. It’s so sad. :/

  27. jammypants says:

    This story is incredibly frustrating and in such a hostile political climate, contributes to the damage even further. The Trump supporters had a good time gloating their superiority and condescension towards me a few times already 😒 To think I defended this guy 🤬

  28. Amelie says:

    I guess we’ll find out soon enough. But I can’t understand why anyone would go to the trouble of staging something like this. Even if he was going to get fired from Empire, he should have realized detectives are smart and that this story would fall apart within minutes of being asked questions if it was fake. If he did stage it, he will most likely be kicked off Empire for real. I don’t know why anyone would want to risk their career and livelihood this way. I hope for his sake it’s not true. And if it is, I hope he gets help because nobody in their right mind would ever do this.

  29. CES says:

    Y’all are being too nice. I’m still not going to 100% form my opinion because it’s still leaks and speculation now. Until the actual evidence and investigation is brought forward I will stay open-minded. However, if he is making it up, which it looks like he did, he’s a horrible person. Mental problems sure, but doing something like this is as bad as someone who pretends to be terminally ill. It’s deeply disturbing and I find it disgusting because it takes away from the victims who really were prey to a hate crime. He should lose his job and be blackballed from Hollywood if it turns out he’s lying. I really hope he’s not because to lie about something like that is just demented

  30. Laura says:

    He should lose his job and go to jail if it turns out that he’s lying. He shouldn’t be able to get away with this.

  31. Jenn says:

    Chicago has a very racist history. Very! I am withholding all judgments till the very end.
    I do not trust cops to have good instincts about how hate crime victims behave and respond when cops in large numbers and certainly in Chicago have been perpetuators of hate crimes, and when hate crimes haven’t even been acknowledged or recognized as such til very recently. I don’t care that he left the noose on . If he’d have taken it off in a fit of fear/anger/shock that too could have been seen as “dramatic”. I don’t care that he held on to his sandwich, if you are attacked and out of sorts you might hold onto your goddamn sandwich too, who the hell knows what you’d do. And 2am to buy a Sandwich – like no one ever goes to eat late? This is why 24 hour joints are a thing. Some people work late, they have a weird schedule, etc.
    If Smollett made this up it’s horrible, terrible, but I’m taking the wait see approach.

    • Mina says:

      That would make sense if a cop was the one who attacked him, but why would the cops want to cover up a crime committed by some random criminal? When in fact catching some racist criminals could improve a little their public image?

      • Jenn says:

        Because too many cops don’t believe Black people or don’t care. Because racist cops are a reality, and some don’t want to believe this so wouldn’t or don’t investigate thoroughly.
        (And Restoring their image? – that’s not really a big thing for them as far as I can tell.)

        And, because crappy cops who don’t investigate or have good/any hunches just in general are also a reality.
        I had a friend who was sexually assaulted – straight up I, probably you, probably almost anyone I know should have been the investigator and got more accomplished, he was that bad.
        Anyway like I said, I am withholding judgment til the end.

    • Anna says:

      @Jenn Exactly. Chicago cops are known for this kind of thing. Bought and paid for. “Truth” is not a word CPD understands…

      • Mina says:

        @jenn that is terrible. It’s just so hard to imagine a full institution is that corrupt, but I guess it happens. Hopefully the truth comes out here sooner rather than later, although would everyone accept it, I wonder?

  32. Justme says:

    Here is an interesting thread: https://twitter.com/MrAndyNgo/status/1097020092791934976

    Things like this do happen. Why? I leave it up to your own judgement. Probably lots of different reasons.

    • Co says:

      Interesting. A blogger on Medium posted a screenshot of an old twitter rant from Jussie. He’s VERY angry about politics. Another news site had a quote from a “source” who said that Smollett was angry that the threatening letter he received at work did not get enough attention. So he planned the attack. Also he apparently tried out for a play that had a similar scene of a racist and homophobic attack. WTF. Hate to say it but this all sounds more plausible than Smollett’s account

  33. Heather says:

    I confess. I did it. In my home I have rope, bleach and probably magazines missing pages. So I must have done it. I can print out an old Empire script quick if needed

    All jokes aside, I hope this isn’t a hoax. It will be a setback to victims being believed. I do think we can’t count solely on leaks and have to wait for the investigation to be completed.

  34. oddly says:

    I think the police at the beginning probably thought the story was off and like me thought it was just a street drug deal or grindr date gone wrong (because he didn’t want to hand over his phone which would point it out in black and white). They were probably as surprisd as the rest of us when the real story started to unwind……..and mad as hell that they had wasted so much time, man power and resources on this hoax.

  35. Audrey says:

    Looks like Jussie sent the hate mail too. He was upset the letter didn’t get enough attention, so he upped the ante. Oh man, if this had caused a riot or something and others were hurt…if he is arrested, they should put him on suicide watch immediately.

  36. RomanH says:

    Thank you for this! I have no idea what happened but you are right: that first police leak is bizarre. If I were attacked, I’d go back to the site and look for cameras or possible witnesses. For the police to scream, “HE KNEW WHERE A SECURITY CAMERA WAS!” seems really strange, understandable only as part of a smear campaign against him.