Race & Identity
Jussie Smollett Released From Jail After Posting Bail
The incident reportedly stemmed from the actor's discontentment with his 'Empire' salary. ...
Update (February 21, 2019): Jussie Smollett is now a free man.
After turning himself in for allegedly staging a vicious homophobic attack, the actor is now free on bail. ABC 7 Chicago reports the actor left Cook County Jail with his bodyguard surrounded by a sea of reporters.
Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago police spokesman, says Smollett turned himself in to authorities around 5 a.m. Thursday morning. Police suggested he turn himself in the next day to avoid spending a night in jail. His attorney joined the star along with someone believed to be his sibling.
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Smollett's bail was set at $100,000 by a Chicago judge after he was charged with falsifying a police report. The 36-year-old paid the city $10,000, turned in his passport and was allowed to go home.
Smollett, who is scheduled to return to court on March 14, could face up to three years in prison if convicted.
Original: Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson denounced actor Jussie Smollett after evidence revealed the Empire star staged a racist, homophobic attack.
Around 6 a.m. on Thursday, the 36-year-old turned himself in to police in connection with an alleged late January attack. Smollett claimed two men assaulted him, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him and placed a noose around the entertainer's neck. The assailants were initially considered to be white Trump supporters, but the allegation has been disproven.
Johnson told media this morning the attack was orchestrated and the majority of the details around the case were misleading.
Chicago's top police officer wasted no time in chastising the actor and activist. He claimed the investigation took attention away from victims of the Windy City's gun violence epidemic.
"Before I get started I look out into the crowd, I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention because that's who really deserves the amount of attention that we are giving to this particular incident," Johnson said.
Two Nigerian brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, were reportedly paid $3,500 to be the attackers in the alleged hate crime, Johnson said.
Surveillance footage from a local store captured the Osundairo brothers as they brought ski masks and bleach for the purportedly staged attack. Police raided their apartment, discovered the items and held them for a day before releasing them. As Blavity previously reported, the two men were released last Saturday, around the same time police sources suggested the actor paid the brothers to conduct the assault.
"The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary," Johnson told media. "So he concocted a story about being attacked."
Rumors began circulating the case, initially claiming Smollett's character was going to be written off of the hit Fox show. Even though those rumors were unfounded, the actor proved many believed the attack to be a hoax true.
"This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn't earn and certainly didn't deserve," Johnson said.
"Bogus police reports cause real harm," he said. "This announcement today recognizes that Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. I'm left hanging my head and asking why."
Johnson conjured up imagery of lynching to further emphasize his point.
"Why would anyone — especially an African-American man — use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?"
Amid the damning revelation of Smollett's attack, the production company responsible for producing Empire has released a statement.
"We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process," Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television said in a statement regarding today's news. "We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options."Now, check these out:
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