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Police: Smollett behind 'shameful' stunt, actor out on $100K bail (UPDATE)
2019-02-21

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At a Feb. 21 press conference that attracted a crowd of media, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that openly gay actor Jussie Smollett faked a threatening letter and then, a week later, staged a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago because he was "dissatisfied with his salary" on the Fox show Empire, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Johnson said that Smollett paid two brothers he knew (Ola and Abel Osundairo) $3,500 by check to fake the attack in the Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood Jan. 29.

The superintendent called the scheme "shameful" and wondered how an African-American could set up a racist attack for a "publicity stunt. The discovered motive made authorities "pissed," Johnson said. "Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."

Also, Johnson insisted that no homicide and shooting investigations were impacted by the case, despite the resources devoted to it.

Smollett surrendered to authorities at 5 a.m. on Feb. 21.

UPDATE: Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. released Smollett on $100,000 bail after scolding him while noting that the actor is presumed innocent, a separate Tribune article noted.

In a media statement, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns said, in part, "There is an issue bigger than Jussie. The sad reality is that Black LGBTQ and same-gender-loving (SGL) people are victims of hate crimes, prejudicial laws and blatant forms of discrimination daily.

"No matter the outcome of this incident, we can't forget that there are hundreds of hate crimes, brutal and deadly acts of violence and threats against people in the LGBTQ community, including Black people. The continued epidemic of violence faced by Black LGBTQ/SGL people cannot be ignored and will not go away if we continue sweeping the truth under the rug."

The full Tribune articles are at at www.chicagotribune.com .


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