The alleged homophobic assault of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is being called into question tonight after new revelations in the case surfaced and two arrested suspects began cooperating with Chicago law authorities.
According to a bombshell news story reported by S.E. Cupp at CNN, police sources have discovered new evidence in the case to suggest Jussie Smollett orchestrated the attack or was involved in some way. The sources – two law enforcement officers with knowledge of the ongoing investigation, told CNN that the Chicago Police Department has reason to believe Jussie participated in the planning and execution of the alleged homophobic attack.
The violent assault caused national outrage when it was reported that Jussie Smollett told police on January 29th that he had been verbally assaulted and beaten by two men as he left a Subway sandwich shop at 2am. In addition to the men yelling out racial and homophobic slurs, the attack escalated to a hanging noose being put around Smollett’s neck, followed by the men dousing him with bleach, declaring “This is MAGA country!”
The implication here is that the assailants were racists and presumably Caucasian. However, after weeks of police investigation and reviewing surveillance footage no such suspects could be found or identified.
Here is the BREAKING NEWS tonight. As harrowing a tale Jussie’s seems to be, it is now being questioned. The two men arrested in connection with the case have reportedly told Chicago PD that Jussie Smollett paid them to help orchestrate his attack. A motive for such an action remains unclear. Furthermore, the police sources also told CNN there are records that prove the two men in question, who are actually brothers, purchased the rope used for “the noose” from a local Ace Hardware store in Chicago.
Oddly, this all seems now like it’s morphing into a bad plot line from the show Empire itself – one that not even Cookie Lyon could make sense of.
However, despite how things may look, Jussie Smollett as of now is a victim of a violent, racially biased assault. That is his claim and we must believe him until otherwise disproven. That said, as there are implications that there could be mistruths in his story, it would be irresponsible for me not to point out that victims of violent crimes, especially women who share their stories are often not believed. In Jussie’s case, a high profile attack that turns out to be fabricated would do very little to reverse that dynamic. Instead, it could further enforce it.
This new update to the Jussie Smollett story has sparked a social media landscape of conversations, ranging from unwavering support from celebrities and national politicians, to members of the LBGTQ community who are dreading the possibility that it's all been a hoax. There are opinions on both sides, but there was a poignant sense of heartbreak I encountered tonight in a Facebook thread where a friend pointed out, “If Jussie Smollett has made this up, he’s made a mockery of Matthew Sheppard, a real victim, of a real violent hate crime who gave his life”.
h/t: S.E. Cupp at CNN