"Empire" star: Jussie Smollett is said to have paid men for a fake attack

Investigators arrested Jussie Smollett. The 36-year-old is said to have faked an attack on himself. Chicago police chief suspects, the US actor had wanted to advance his career.

The alleged homophobic and racist attack on US actor Jussie Smollett had caused indignation - but now the star of the TV series "Empire" is accused by investigators to have faked the attack. The 36-year-old was detained, police said in Chicago. He is charged with having lied to the investigators. Smollett threatened for his alleged false statement up to three years imprisonment.

Smollett is said to have staged the attack, according to police, because he hoped for his alleged victim role professional advantages. The actor has "exploited the pain and anger over racism to advance his career," said Chicago police chief Eddie Johnson. According to this, Smollett should also have gone for material advantages: he was "dissatisfied with his salary".

Previously, he is said to have been annoyed by a threatening letter addressed to him, which Fox, according to him, did not pay enough attention to. The police suspect that Smollett also sent this letter himself.

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Alleged attack: the case of Jussie Smollett

The African-American and gay actor reported in late January that he had been insulted, beaten, and liquid-spewed in the open street by two masked racist and anti-gay people. In addition, the attackers had wrapped a rope around his neck and shouted that Chicago was "MAGA land" - alluding to the slogan of US President Donald Trump, "Make America Great Again".

The police then started investigations into possible hate crimes. The investigators were doubtful about the portrayal of the "Empire" actor when they questioned two suspects arrested. The men, two brothers, were released. The investigators then targeted the actor himself.

Police chief Johnson now said that Smollett had paid the alleged attackers 3,500 dollars (about 3100 euros). One of the two is said to have known the actor from "Empire" shooting. The police had been unable to find video recordings of surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the alleged attack, according to investigators, according to witnesses.

"This lie is so damaging"

The lawyers of the actor announced their own investigations and an "aggressive" defense. They stated that their client's presumption of innocence applies to every other citizen - especially in such a case where "right and wrong information" has repeatedly been leaked to the public.

"This lie is so damaging," the feminist author Roxane Gay had tweeted a few days ago. It is inexplicable why Smollett makes life more difficult for people who actually become victims of hate crimes. Previously, celebrities such as ex-Vice President Joe Biden, actress Emma Watson and singer John Legend had put behind Smollett.

In fact, according to the FBI, the number of hate crimes in the United States rose by 17 percent in 2017. The victims were primarily African Americans and Jews. However, several US newspapers wrote that in the case of Smollett, journalists and politicians reacted prematurely and accepted the actor's statements uncritically.

ref: spiegel

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