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Jussie Smollet: From the 'victim' to the 'culprit'

22 February 2019 - 09:14 By Odwa Mjo
Jussie Smollett was arrested on Thursday on a felony charge for allegedly staging his homophobic and racist attack.
Jussie Smollett was arrested on Thursday on a felony charge for allegedly staging his homophobic and racist attack.
Image: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo

Empire star and musician Jussie Smollett has been the subject of many headlines in the past few weeks after a violent attack landed him in hospital. Now, the story has gone a different direction, with Smollett facing charges and public backlash. 

In late January, the actor was hospitalised in Chicago, US, after he claimed he was attacked by two men who put his head in a noose and shouted, “This is MAGA (Make America Great Again) Country”, TMZ reported. 

The police said the perpetrators poured a chemical substance on Smollett and beat him with their hands.

Smollett received wide support from fellow entertainers and US politicians, including Nancy Pelosi and former US vice-president Joe Biden.

He returned to the stage a few days after the incident, but cancelled a meet-and-greet at his first show due to security concerns.

A week ago, two men identified as “potential suspects” were released by the Chicago police without charge after new evidence was revealed during interrogations, AFP  reported. 

According to BBC, police became suspicious after they could not find any video footage of the alleged incident from more than 50 surveillance cameras, and there were no witnesses. One of the suspects was Smollett’s trainer and both suspects had appeared as extras on Empire. The actor allegedly paid the two suspects $3,500 to stage the attack.

On Thursday, Smollett was arrested and faces a felony charge of disorderly misconduct for the claims. He was granted $100,000 bail, ordered to give up his passport and will remain under supervision. The actor is expected to return to court on March 14, CNN reported.

Smollett’s arrest fuelled many  on social media, including US President Donald Trump.


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