Full video: Chicago police say Jussie Smollett staged attack to increase his salary

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Published on 21 Feb 2019, 16:17
“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett choreographed a homophobic, racist attack against himself with the help of two brother he knew, in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with the salary he was making, police said Thursday.

Eddie Johnson, superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, kicked off the presser, explaining what their investigation concluded.

"This announcement today recognizes that 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career," he said.

"First Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial homophobic and political language. When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack... The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary so he concocted a story about being attacked."

Johnson, a black man, railed against Smollett, who he said was embraced by Chicago but unfairly added to the city’s image as a crime mecca.

“I am offended that this happened and I am angry,” he said. "This publicity stunt wasn’t a scar that Chicago earned nor did it deserve.”

Johnson said he was worried about how this would impact hate crimes in the future.

“I’m also concerned about what this means moving forward for hate crimes,” he said. “Now, of course, the Chicago Police Department, will continue to investigate all reports of these types of incidents with the same amount of vigor that we did with this one. My concern is that hate crimes will now be publicly met with a level of skepticism that previously didn’t happen.”

Johnson also said he offered Smollett his prayers.

“I’ll continue to pray for this troubled young man who resorted to both drastic and illegal tactics to gain attention," he said. "I’ll also continue to pray for our city, asking that we can move forward from this and begin to heal."