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SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: 'Empire' With Jussie Smollett

Source: Santiago Felipe / Getty

***Update***

After being released on $100,000 bond, Jussie Smollett returned to the Empire set and reportedly offered his co-stars little explanation. He reportedly paraphrased his lawyer’s statement. Fox announced today that Jussie has been cut from the final two episodes of Empire after defending the actor prior to his arrest.

“Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply,” the producers said. “While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.”

Jussie remains that he is innocent.

***Original Story Resumes Below***

It’s nearly impossible to scroll social media without coming across a headline about Jussie Smollett. The Empire actor is engulfed in controversy after accusing two men of attacking him during a late night in Chicago. Smollett said he was punched in the face, had bleach poured on him and he suffered a bruise on his face. He also accused the attackers of yelling, “this MAGA country n*gger” and putting a noose around his neck. Since then an array of reports have come out that portray Smollett as a “liar.”

Smollett has been accused of “orchestrating” the attack with two Nigerian brothers who also appeared on Empire.

Here’s everything we know about the incident so far:

Days before the attack, a threatening and racist letter addressed to Smollett was sent to CBS Chicago with a powdery substance inside that appeared to be Tylenol.

Smollett was allegedly attacked by two men in Streeterville, Chicago early Jan. 29 morning after going to Subway

He hesitated to call the police because of his pride but fully cooperated when he finally did contact them. Smollett revealed police didn’t initially ask him for his phone records, but wanted his phone. He didn’t hand it over because he had valuable and personal information in his phone. He did submit his phone records within an hour of the attack but they were redacted versions and the police needed more information.

Jussie’s celebrity friends and fans of the actor came to his defense, calling out the forces who give energy to the MAGA movement and condemning racism.

President Trump called the incident, “horrible.” “Doesn’t get worse,” he added.

A police investigation turns up no surveillance footage of the attack, but shows two “persons of interest.”

In his first performance after the attack, Jussie called himself the “gay tupac.”

Jussie Smollett does Good Morning America interview, giving details about the alleged attack. According to his testimony, the attacker punched him and he struck him back. “We started tussling, it was very icy.” He added, “There was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back.” Apparently, his manager was on the phone during the attack. “Then I looked down and noticed there was a rope around my neck.”

The homes of Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who were seen on the surveillance video, were raided. They were arrested but quickly released.

“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 charging.”

According to the brothers, they rehearsed the attack with Smollett days before the incident. They reportedly scouted a spot to orchestrate the attack where cameras would catch it. Apparently Jussie wanted the incident to be “physical” but not too harmful. They “made contact with Jussie’s face” but it was “weak.” The “attack” wasn’t caught on camera like Jussie had originally thought because cameras were facing north// away from where the incident occurred.

Countless celebs have come out against Jussie after reports surfaced claiming the “attack” was orchestrated.

“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” said defense lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson in a statement obtained by Deadline.

“Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

Jussie’s role on Empire has reportedly been “slashed” in the wake of the allegedly staged attack. He was originally supposed to be in nine episodes, featuring one big musical scene.

His sister Jurnee posted this message on social media.

Jussie will plead his case in front of a grand jury who will decide if he should be indicted on charges for filing a false police report. The Osundairo brothers volunteered to testify.

Footage of the brothers buying supplies for the attack was released on Twitter today.

Jussie Smollett is now a suspect in a criminal investigation by Chicago police for filing a false police report.

A grand jury indicted Smollett for filing a false police report.

Jussie Smollett turned himself into the police at 6am Thursday morning.

Jussie Smollett Booking Photo

Source: Handout / Getty

Trump tweeted Jussie Smollett calling him out for inciting racial divide among the American people.

A media circus surrounded Jussie as he was released from jail on a $100,000 bond yesterday. He immediately returned to the Empire set.

Black Twitter Uplifts Jussie Smollett After Being Brutally Attacked By MAGA Supporters
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