Actor Jussie Smollett staged attack because he was 'dissatisfied'
February 21, 2019 10:37 am
Actor Jussie Smollett claimed to be the victim of a racist and homophobic attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the hip-hop TV drama “Empire,” Chicago’s police chief said on Thursday.
Smollett, a 36-year-old black, openly gay actor, has been arrested after he was charged with lying to police in connection with the alleged attack on Jan. 29.
“Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told a news conference. “How can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?”
Smollett had claimed that two apparent supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump had struck him, put a noose around his neck and poured an unknown substance over him.
“Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago’s reputation through the mud in the process,” Johnson said. “This stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with this salary. He concocted a story about being attacked.”
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved felony criminal charges against Smollett for disorderly conduct and filing a false police report, police said on Wednesday. He has a bond hearing scheduled for later on Thursday.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis