Actor Jussie Smollett, whose alleged assault was the subject of much controversy this week, has remained silent about the alleged attack he says he suffered on the evening of Jan. 29. Instead, the show-business community—and his alleged attackers—have been talking about the star’s alleged hate crime, which comes as the actor has been in the midst of a legal battle over his claim that he was allegedly the victim of financial abuse by his former manager. Here is a look at the events surrounding this report.
Jussie Smollett reportedly told Chicago police that two men beat him up and poured bleach on him during an attack that occurred at about 2 a.m. at the intersection of South Lincoln Avenue and West North Avenue.
Police arrested two brothers—Abel and Olabinjo Osundairo—on Jan. 30. The Osundairo brothers later said that they did not assault Smollett, but rather “helped” him in an effort to “flip” his story against his former manager, David Schwimmer.
Police charged the brothers with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
Smollett’s representatives said they had received a letter that contained a white powder that turned out to be a harmless granular substance. A second letter sent to Smollett was found to contain an intact white powder. The FBI is investigating.
A$AP Rocky allegedly distanced himself from Smollett following the incident. He told Billboard: “I’m a real supporter of Black Lives Matter.”
Smollett flew to California and was due to appear on Good Morning America but bailed out of his appearance after no explanation was provided.
Smollett finally filed a police report on behalf of himself and his family, claiming that he was “punched in the face, poured an unknown chemical substance” on him and had two men yell racial and homophobic slurs at him while he was “bound by rope.” The singer-actor alleged that a man with a “Make America Great Again” hat and a “Make Chicago Great Again” baseball cap yelled “MAGA country” while the alleged assailants went on the attack.
Three weeks later, in a gated community in the Chicago suburb of Windermere, about an hour from Smollett’s Hollywood home, two men walked up to Smollett and appeared to be “assaulting [him],” according to police. The men apparently tried to provide him with money after punching him, and threatened to kill Smollett. The alleged assailants handed Smollett a note that the singer said “looked like a ransom note.”
The Chicago Police Department has not commented on the alleged note or whether it is relevant to the case.
On Thursday, a grand jury returned a first-degree felony charge against Smollett alleging that he paid one of the brothers in order to orchestrate the assault.
Smollett arrived at the courthouse in the Chicago suburb of Fenwick. He faced his alleged attackers, who could face 20 years in prison if convicted.
During an arraignment, Smollett’s lawyer said that the actor was in “no position” to pay for the attack. He asked the judge for a $100,000 bond, citing his celebrity status, and was released that day.
The actor released a statement that afternoon, in which he claimed that the entire case had been “set up” and that he felt he was targeted for his “race and [his] sexuality.”
“They wanted me to believe that the MAGA hat I was wearing made [the attack] possible,” he said. “They wanted me to believe that this is [my] country and if you don’t like it, then we don’t want you here.”
Smollett has been outspoken about his support for President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda, which has often criticized immigration.
Smollett tweeted this statement at 9:05 a.m. ET: “I can’t emphasize enough how much I appreciate all the love and support I’ve received.”
— With reporting by Mark Brody