I didn’t write about this story when it first broke.
This was one of the most obvious race hoaxes that any of us had ever seen. I figured that I would wait until it inevitably collapsed before writing about it:
“Chicago Police say they are still searching for the assailants who attacked “Empire” star Jussie Smollett early Tuesday morning in what Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi says they are investigating as a “possible hate crime.”
Wednesday evening, Guglielmi said police have established “potential persons of interest” in the assault. He added that, “A community alert (with) photos is being constructed and will be disseminated shortly. …
Guglielmi told USA TODAY that Smollett, 36, was approached in the early hours of Tuesday morning by two people who “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him,” adding that they punched him in the face, poured a chemical on him and wrapped a rope around his neck.
Smollett went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to have the cuts on his face and neck treated. He was described as being in good condition and on Wednesday, his representative, Pamela Sharp, told USA TODAY that he was “recovering well.”
Sgt. Cindy Guerra confirmed to USA TODAY that Smollett said in a follow-up interview the next day that his alleged attackers yelled, “This is MAGA country.” …
Smollett was allegedly attacked at 2:00 AM in Chicago during the polar vortex by two white men in ski masks who recognized him as “that f—got Empire n—.” They yelled “this is MAGA country” and poured bleach on him and wrapped a noose around his neck.
The ADL, AJC and SPLC all ran with it:
This sickening, vile reported attack on @EmpireFOX star @JussieSmollett is a disturbing reminder of the terrible homophobia & racism that plagues society. We stand with you, Jussie and will never stop fighting against this kind of hateful violence. https://t.co/kMROwpmKao
— ADL (@ADL) January 29, 2019
We are horrified by the assault on @JussieSmollett, whose attackers shouted racist and homophobic slurs before putting a noose around his neck. We pray for his recovery and call on police to bring the perpetrators of this hate crime swiftly to justice. https://t.co/Lu9DgziPKx
— AJC (@AJCGlobal) January 29, 2019
Reports of the attack on Jussie Smollett are horrifying.
They're also not the only ones. https://t.co/fSVzuW3U4d
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) February 4, 2019
Hate crimes — especially against LGBTQ+ and black people — are increasing.
Actor Jussie Smollett, who is both black and gay, was attacked by two men who allegedly shouted, "This is MAGA country!" after they beat him and put a rope around his neck. https://t.co/o2Hj4nDDyH
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) January 31, 2019
We track hate. In 2017 alone we counted 51 anti-LGBT groups in the US.
The violent attack on Jussie Smollett, albeit despicable, is not unique. POC & the LGBTQ community are most commonly targeted – especially those at the intersection of both identities. https://t.co/IMGP7RnbVJ
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) January 30, 2019
The story began to rapidly fall apart this week when it came out that Smollett had tampered with his phone records which had been turned over to the police:
“Empire” star Jussie Smollett says he’s “continuing to work closely” with authorities investigating a “possible hate crime” committed against him after the Chicago Police Department rejected his phone records.
Sgt. Rocco Alioto told USA TODAY that although they appreciate Smollett’s cooperation, the submitted records were rejected because they “do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limited and heavily redacted.”
Chris Bastardi, a spokesperson for Smollett, confirmed to USA TODAY that the actor “voluntarily provided his phone records” shortly after the altercation, adding that any redactions were “intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack.” …”
Now, it turns out that the whole thing was some kind of gay love triangle that was staged by Jussie Smollett because he was being written out of Empire:
“CHICAGO — Chicago police confirmed Thursday that detectives are talking to two persons of interest in connection with the alleged attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
Multiple sources have told ABC7 Eyewitness News that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack allegedly because Smollett was being written off of “Empire.”
A source familiar with the investigation told the ABC7 I-Team that Smollett failed to appear for an interview with detectives earlier Thursday. …”
Jussie was just butt hurt about the incident. Literally. https://t.co/S8TII2OgCw
— RAMZPAUL (@ramzpaul) February 14, 2019
Current behind the scenes CW from those involved in the Jussie Smollett case:
Smollett got into fight with a man he was dating & cheated on, and a friend of that lover. He then concocted the MAGA/Hate-crime cover story & fingered them on GMA, unaware the police knew who they are
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) February 14, 2019
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
BREAKING: The two suspects seen on Chicago security camera who Empire actor Jussie Smollett claimed to be perpetrators of the alleged racial and homophobic attack against him turn out to be two African American men, with one of them being connected to the Empire show.
— BNL NEWS (@BreakingNLive) February 14, 2019
JUST IN: Sources say possible ‘love conflict’ with two friends (‘suspects’) caused Jussie Smollett to accuse the two friends of being ‘perpetrators’ of a hate crime. It is highly likely that violence never occurred.
— BNL NEWS (@BreakingNLive) February 14, 2019
Smollett recently went on Good Morning America to blame society for doubting his story.