2.16.19 LATEST UPDATE: Chicago PD tells Fox 32 the the two suspects released from custody are the source of the rope found around Smollet’s neck which was purchased at an Ace Hardware, and the brothers will continue to cooperate with the police. CPD has contacted Jussie’s newly retained attorney and have stated that they are “very eager” to speak with him as soon as possible.
CPD also states that they believe the actor paid $3500.00 to the two men to pull of the alleged hoax.
Smollett reportedly failed to show for his last scheduled interview with authorities.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) February 16, 2019
whether Smollett made up the story after police threatened to charge them with battery. The brothers attorney said both brothers knew Smollett. There are unconfirmed reports that Smollett paid the two brothers to perform the alleged scheme. (2/2).
— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) February 16, 2019
2.16.19 UPDATE: Late Friday night Chicago police released the two individuals previously detained in connection with Jussie Smollett, CBS Chicago confirms.
Still no word on the status of Smollett or if he is currently facing any charges. We will keep you posted as details develop.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 16, 2019
2.15.19 UPDATE: It has been reported that Chicago PD has, in fact, arrested the two Nigerian persons of interest.
We will keep you posted.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 15, 2019
UPDATE: Multiple sources indicate that Smollett conspired with one (possibly two) other actors of Empire to organize the alleged hoax. Both are reportedly of Nigerian descent whose homes were raided earlier. Police have confirmed that Smollett deleted cell phone information that was requested by police and also failed to show for a scheduled interview earlier today in what appears to be a staged hoax – due to Smollett being written off of the show.
BREAKING:Police raided the home of two persons of interest in Jussie Smollett case last night. Both men are of Nigerian decent and have appeared as extras on the show. Police took bleach, shoes electronics and more.Officers asked family if they knew #Jussiesmollett. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/PDSFtf5jwb
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 14, 2019
MORE: Source states phone records provided by Smollett were a spreadsheet. He downloaded his phone activity into a spreadsheet and then deleted certain phone calls. “He did the [detectives’] job for them because then they only had to focus on the numbers he deleted.”
— CWBChicago (@CWBChicago) February 14, 2019
Was Jussie Smollett really the victim of a hate crime, or was it a hoax?
The Empire actor will appear on ABC with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America Thursday morning to shed some light on the allegations of being a victim of a recent hate crime, which has everyone talking. Let’s take a look.
If you’re on social media at all, it’s been impossible to miss this story and it seems everyone has an opinion. Smollett has been the talk of the town since January 29 when he told police that he was brutally attacked by two masked Donald Trump supporters for being gay and black. In short, Smollett alleges that after picking up a Subway sandwich at 2AM that frigid Tuesday night, he was walking back to his luxury Chicago apartment near Navy Pier when he was attacked by two men who brutally beat him, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him.
He would later state that during the attack the attackers were yelling racial slurs and referencing President Trump. Police released photos of the two possible suspects which were garnered from the videotapes submitted by area businesses in the upscale security camera-laden neighborhood.
Police have stated that they have recovered plenty of video with the exception of about 60 seconds of footage, but none of the video captured the alleged incident.
Initially there was an outpouring of support for Jussie when the story first became public, however in recent days his allegations are receiving much pushback as details are released. The increasing skepticism is based on Smollett’s odd behavior and lack of cooperation with the police regarding the incident.
The actor states that he was on the phone with music manager, Brandon Moore, when the supposed attack occurred. Moore has confirmed this adding that he heard Jussie being attacked and overheard the assailants yelling “this is MAGA country!” Smollett did not mention this in his original statement to police, who were not called until roughly 40-45 mins after the alleged incident occurred. The actor himself did not call police. However a friend, Frank Gatson, did so.
When police arrived nearly an hour after the attack, Smollett was still wearing the rope/noose that he states the attackers placed on him and his tuna sandwich was still intact. When asked why he was still wearing the rope, the actor stated it was to “preserve evidence.” Additionally, when asked by police for his phone to assist in the investigation, Jussie refused to submit the device. Only on Monday would he would finally submit to police a heavily redacted .PDF file to the cops who have described the file as ‘limited and insufficient.’
Police noted that they were able to piece together video footage of Smollett’s trip to and fro the sandwich shop, with the exception of about 60 seconds, when the actor claims the incident took place.
Smollet’s neighbors also have issues with his story. “I don’t believe it happened the way he said it did. I’ve been in this neighborhood five years. I don’t believe it, not around here … Half the people are gay and the other half are black.” said Agin Muhammad to the NY Post. Muhammad is a neighbor of Smollett’s who lives in the same building as the actor.
Also further raising eyebrows is the fact that Mr. Smollett has hired a PR firm, Sunshine Sachs, for assistance. Many may recognize Sunshine Sachs as these are the same representatives that Harvey Weinstein hired during his recent “Me Too” crisis.
Chicago PD has just announced that they will re-interview Mr. Smollett when he returns to the city for filming.
In the meantime, Smollet will break his silence Thursday morning during his interview with GMA. Let’s take a look at the promo:
TOMORROW: An @ABC EXCLUSIVE: @RobinRoberts sits down one-on-one with @JussieSmollett who says he’s "pissed off" after being attacked in possible hate crime. “How do you not believe that? It's the truth." See the interview TOMORROW on @GMA. https://t.co/b5efiOJ8L8 pic.twitter.com/bpvnHUnz8W
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 13, 2019
Here are some thoughts from Social Media, and it’s not looking good for Jussie.
Wonder why #jussiesmollett would find it necessary to hire Harvey Weinstein's PR people? I'm perplexed. 🤔🙄🤔
— 🇺🇸 Sheri V. 🇺🇸 🐎🐾 (@777Snv) February 13, 2019
Matt Walsh weighs in:
Yes two psychotic rednecks were hanging around downtown Chicago in sub zero temperatures holding a noose and a bottle of bleach and somehow recognized the guy from "Empire" then assaulted him in the span of 60 seconds and escaped without being noticed by security cameras. Ok! https://t.co/T8nkFVGwL3
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) February 13, 2019
No he wasn’t , he made up the story, hopefully he will be charged
— WFJ (@giajules2000) February 13, 2019
— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) February 13, 2019
— Jessica Lee (@JBeeLee) February 13, 2019
— Ron Hanforth (@ronhanforth) February 13, 2019
— Dr Boyce Watkins (@drboycewatkins1) February 13, 2019
Candace Owens lends her thoughts:
How dare you suggest this hate crime didn’t occur! (And don’t forget to buy the latest #JussieSmollett single in iTunes!)
— Carlos Danger (@MaximizeMinimal) February 13, 2019
lets ask his Subway sandwich…it seemed to make it through the attack unscathed 🤣
— Dezi D 🇺🇸💯👀🗣 (@dizzyd2610) February 13, 2019
We’re from Chicago. The media is basically hoping the story fizzles. They went from bringing it up non stop to a passing update saying the cops couldn’t verify the phone call etc.
— TwoPeacockProductions (@TwoPeacockProd) February 13, 2019
I’ve been looking for updates and the story seems to have evaporated…. #fakeNews. He should be prosecuted if it is determined that he filed a false police report.
— CopMom2012 (@CMom2012) February 13, 2019
— jim (@jimmmjames) February 14, 2019
If anyone has any information on this case we urge you to contact Chicago PD immediately.here and on Twitter here.