Television show Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been taken into custody by the Chicago Police for staging a “hate crime”.
On January 29, Smollett had reported being attacked by two men while he was walking in downtown Chicago at around 2 am. In the police complaint filed by Smollett, the alleged attackers shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, tied a noose around his neck, and threw bleach on him.
Smollett also accused them of shouting “MAGA country” during the attack. MAGA stands for “Make America Great Again” and was Donald Trump’s slogan for his presidential campaign before he won the election in November 2016.
At a press conference after Smollett was charged, Chicago Police Department Chief Superintendent Eddie T Johnson said that the actor “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”. According to the Chicago Police, Smollett orchestrated an attack on himself because he was dissatisfied with his salary.
Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki was instrumental in unearthing evidence that indicated that Smollett’s attack was staged. During Johnson’s press conference, Wodnicki laid out a timeline of the investigation.
The late night infotainment shows in the US too picked up the peculiar case. The Daily Show host Trevor Noah expressed surprise about why would Smollett pick his personal trainer of Nigerian descent to stage an attack.
Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show, also had similar concerns on the complicated story. “Smollett cast himself as a fake national symbol for our real racial and political divide,” Colbert said. He added, “If you’re going to fake a white supremacist hate crime, hire two white guys! This is one place where you don’t want diversity.”
US President Donald Trump also had something to say to Smollett.