Jussie Smollett, an actor on the hit show "Empire" on Fox, claimed to have been attacked by two white men wearing ski masks, who punched him, threw bleach on him, and tied a rope around his neck late January.
“This is MAGA country” was reportedly shouted at the actor, along with homophobic slurs. Smollett is gay.
So, you can see how this took a life of its own. It became a Frankenstein monster within the media, though they missed some red flags. First, Chicago is not “MAGA country.” Second, Smollett initially wouldn’t turn over his phone. Third, the suspects knew Smollett. They’re two Nigerian brothers, one of which was an extra on the "Empire." Police raided their residence on February 13. They’re now cooperating with the investigation after being arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery this week (via Associated Press):
Chicago police say they have released two Nigerian brothers who had been arrested earlier in the week on suspicion of assaulting “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, saying that detectives have additional investigative work to complete.
The men were picked up by police Wednesday at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and their apartment was searched Thursday. They were questioned Friday but police were obliged to release them if they had not been charged within 48 hours.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted: “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charges.”
Smollett says he was assaulted on Jan. 29 by two men who shouted racial slurs and put a rope around his neck.
Oh, and guess what—those Nigerians bought the rope that was involved in the alleged attack at an ACE Hardware store, though another story is that Smollett himself paid for the rope at a different hardware store. The point is both stories allegedly point to Smollett planning a fake hate crime. Now, Chicago Police sources have told CNN that they feel Smollett orchestrated the attack. The supposed attackers were also allegedly paid over $3,000 each to stage this assault. Oh, and they supposedly held rehearsals for it (via CBS Chicago) [emphasis mine]:
Latest on #JussieSmollett:— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) February 16, 2019
Several #CPD sources confirmed detectives were able to show the 2 Nigerian brothers questioned by police had purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at an Ace hardware. The brothers agreed to cooperate with police who are investigating...(1/2)
whether Smollett made up the story after police threatened to charge them with battery. The brothers attorney said both brothers knew Smollett. There are unconfirmed reports that Smollett paid the two brothers to perform the alleged scheme. (2/2).— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) February 16, 2019
Jussie Smollett paid two brothers to stage an attack against him, directed them to buy items used in the alleged assault and actually rehearsed it with them, sources say.
Sources say at least one of the brothers bought the rope used in the incident at Smollett’s request. The sources also say the “Empire” actor paid for the rope, which was purchased at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood the weekend of Jan. 25.
The brothers, who were questioned by police this week before being released, were paid $3,500 before leaving for Nigeria and were promised an additional $500 upon their return.
They left for Nigeria later in the day on Jan. 29, after the attack.
Sources said one of the brothers held the rope and poured bleach while the other wore a plain red hat and yelled slurs at Smollett.
The sources say the red hat was bought at an Uptown beauty supply store and that the attack was supposed to happen before Jan. 29. The brothers told detectives the three men rehearsed the attack days prior to it happening.
CNN: Chicago Police believe Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault.— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) February 16, 2019
The sources tell CNN that the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.
CNN’s Brian Stelter appears to suggest that the Jussie Smollett case was a “partisan” and “polarizing” story because “random websites” “weaponized” the story pic.twitter.com/jlpZjV8UzL— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 17, 2019
Well, it looks like this story has totally collapsed.