Jussie Smollett has apologized to the cast of ‘Empire’ after being arraigned for filing a false police report over allegedly staging a hate crime against himself.
UPDATE (3/26/19), 11:35 AM EST: The charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett — over allegedly staging a racial attack against himself in Chicago on January 29 — have all been dropped, his Chicago-based attorney Ronald Safer confirms to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television issued the following statement (on March 26, 2019 at 1:15 PM EST) in wake of this development: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
ORIGINAL: So many major celebrities rallied around Jussie Smollett after the Empire star claimed on Jan. 29 that he was the victim of a horrific hate crime. Now that he’s been indicted by a grand jury and arrested for filing a false police report, those stars are at a loss for why he would allegedly stage such a hoax. He’s still maintaining his innocence to his fellow cast members on the Fox drama. The 36-year-old headed straight from a Chicago courthouse to the set of Empire following his arraignment on Feb. 21. Ahead of filming his scene, he reportedly gathered the cast and crew around, telling them “I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this,” according to a TMZ source.
His star supporters are still shaking their heads in disbelief that Jussie allegedly faked the attack, where he claimed two men beat him up, poured bleach on him, put a noose around his neck and hurled homophobic and racial slurs against him. Tyler Perry took to Instagram and wrote, “I have personally spoken to Jussie, and he is adamant that he’s telling the truth. Also, everyone that I know who knows him says that he is not the kind of person who would make up such a horrible and awful thing.”
The actor/director continued, “Yet the evidence seems to state otherwise. I’m lost for words. To stoke fears and raise racial tensions is wrong in every situation on ALL SIDES! Yet my prayers are still with him and his family and our Nation. CAN WE PLEASE STOP THE HATE!” Chicago PD’s Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a news conference that Jussie hired two brothers who he knew as extras on Empire to stage the attack on him because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the show.
Actor/Rapper O’Shea Jackson — Ice Cube‘s son — took Jussie to task, tweeting “What upsets me about this Jussie situation is that people were genuinely worried about you man. And the things that you said happened could have led to some serious outcomes. People were prepared to fight for you bruh. Things coulda got ugly…… and you made it up,” then added “The world has plenty of real monsters. You don’t have to make up any. And what for? Just further dividing people for personal gain? It sucks for the people who actually have to deal with that type of hate.”
What upsets me about this Jussie situation is that people were genuinely worried about you man. And the things that you said happened could have led to some serious outcomes. People were prepared to fight for you bruh. Things coulda got ugly…… and you made it up.
— Stone Cold Shea Jackson (@OsheaJacksonJr) February 21, 2019
My head is exploding this morning. I have to get off Twitter. This story is pathetic. All of it.
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) February 21, 2019
Other stars were less forgiving. Marlon Wayans took to Instagram and wrote “What in the damn Tawana Brawley is going on?! Man… 🤦🏽♂️ i just need answers… excuse my French in this situation…BUT…THIS N***A!!!” next to a photo of Jussie. TV host Mario Lopez wrote in the comments “Homie got a little too creative with his tale,” while Holly Robinson Peete and Love and Hip Hop star Stevie J added face plant emoji’s under Marlon’s post. 50 Cent embedded Jussie’s face over Tupac Shakur‘s on the cover of his iconic 1996 album All Eyez On Me and rewrote the title to read “All Liez On Me” and posted it to his IG account.
Jussie claimed that his attackers shouted “This is MAGA country,” referring to President Donald Trump‘s “Make America Great Again” slogan. The tycoon was infuriated the actor brought him and his supporters into the hoax by tweeting “.@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA” Comedian Patton Oswalt then shamed Jussie for giving Trump ammo by tweeting “Way to go Jussie. You just handed this racist dipsh*t a ‘Get Out Of Race-Baiting Free’ card that he’s gonna wave around like a soiled diaper until he’s re-elected.”