Twentieth Century Fox Television studios issued a statement reacting to the felony charge against Empire actor Jussie Smollett in connection to staging his own hate crime, saying they are “evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”
“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options,” 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said.
NEW: Statement from 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment on Jussie Smollett: "We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.” https://t.co/E64BpTUjap pic.twitter.com/4f4D9UrQak
— ABC News (@ABC) February 21, 2019
Earlier Thursday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson detailed how Smollet orchestrated a racist and anti-gay attack on himself because he was dissatisfied with his salary and sought to increase his public profile. Further, Johnson said the actor mailed himself a threatening letter to the Chicago television studio where Empire is filled. ABC News reported that the letter contained crushed aspirin and the phrase “Die black fag.”
Johnson said authorities believe the actor paid two brothers — Ola and Abel Osundairo — $3,500 by check to help carry out the attack. Chicago’s local CBS affiliate has obtained video of the two brothers tied to the alleged staged attack on Smollett purchasing ski masks from a store one day prior to the purported assault. The store’s surveillance footage appears to show Abel and Ola Osundairo bring masks and a red hat to the counter for the cashier to ring up.
Smollett was taken into police custody on Thursday morning after being charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report with Chicago police regarding the alleged attack. Smollet told police that two masked men hurled racist and anti-gay slurs at him as he walked home from a sandwich shop on January 29. He also claimed the pair looped a thin rope around his neck and shouted “This is MAGA country!” before running away.
“He took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson told reporters, later adding “This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve.”
In a statement following Johnson’s remarks, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said, “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Smollett is due to appear in Cook County Criminal Court for a bond hearing at 1:30 p.m. local time.