HOAX: Jussie Smollett Charged With Filing False Police Report
Update: Smollett surrendered to police around 5 a.m. CT. He has a bail hearing at 1:30 p.m. Police say Smollett “took advantage of the pain and anger in racism to promote his career.” They also say Smollett sent a “false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language.”
Empire actor Jessie Smollett has been charged in Chicago with filing a false police report in connection with his staging of a hate crime hoax. This is about as shocking as James Bond getting the girl.
Smollett was also charged with disorderly conduct.
Chicago police say “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.”
Filing a false police report is a Class 4 felony in Chicago, punishable by up to three years in prison.
Smollett claimed he was attacked 2 a.m. on a frigid January night by two white men in red hats hurling racial and homophobic slurs, yelling “This is MAGA Country.” The men also hung a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him. As The Stream reported, Smollett’s story was dubious from the jump for numerous reasons. That didn’t stop a sea of celebrities, politicians and media pundits from decrying the “modern day lynching” and pointing fingers at Donald Trump, Trump supporters and a hateful racist nation. “This is America, 2019,” one cable host mourned.
Smollett himself gave a tearful interview to Good Morning, America‘s Robin Roberts, blaming any doubts about his story on racism.
Ultimately, Chicago police were able to track down the two men caught on a surveillance video the night of the alleged attack. Turns out the “attackers” were two Nigerian American brothers who are buddies with the actor; extras, in fact on Empire. (At least now they’ve made the jump to supporting roles.)
Those two men — Ola and Abel Osundario — were spotted this afternoon entering a Chicago grand jury room. The two buff bros weren’t there to pump iron.
News that Smollett has been charged came only after video was posted of Ola and Abel purchasing items used in the attack. Note the red hats. (I guess MAGA hats aren’t in great supply in Chicago.) The brothers reportedly told police Smollett paid not only for the items, but $3500 for the attack itself, with $500 more on the way.
Hate Mail Hoax Too?
Smollett’s legal troubles may just be getting started.
The FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are also investigating whether Smollett was behind a letter sent to the Chicago studio of Empire a week before the alleged attack. The letter, with a crude MAGA return address, contained threats and a white powder that turned out to be aspirin. Sources say the brothers told police the hate mail was Smollett’s doing as well. If confirmed, Smollet would be in very hot water. Sending a terrorist hoax is a federal offense.
In a statement Wednesday, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said, they had “no comment at this time” about the charges filed against Smollett.