Do Chicago police have the wrong motive for Jussie Smollett’s staged assault?

Jussie Smollett's Mugshot

Jussie Smollett turned himself into police custody yesterday and was arrested on one felony count of filing a false police report. His bond was set at $100,000 and he was released in the afternoon. He had family and security around him as he left the court. Jussie’s team issued this statement:

“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system,” Smollett’s legal team said in the statement. “The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election. Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”

[From ABC Chicago]

I mean… it’s always an election year, and the prosecution would always like to skip directly to sentencing. None of that is really a great defense. Personally, I think it would have been interesting for Jussie’s team to attack the Chicago PD’s theory on motive. Chicago police seem to believe that Jussie staged his assault so he could get sympathy and… get a bigger paycheck?

The increasingly complicated story of Jussie Smollett’s January assault, and the mounting evidence that he staged it, has left many of those who have worked with him in shock. But nothing has been greeted with more confusion than his motive, which police allege was a pay grab on an aging hit series — a job for which he was already well compensated and may be able to hold onto until he sees a jury.

Chicago police said Thursday that the embattled Empire star choreographed the “publicity stunt” because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on the Fox show. Sources familiar with his and other deals on the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong drama say that he never expressed dissatisfaction with his rich compensation.

Smollett’s salary is substantial, especially for someone who was a relative unknown when he was first cast on Empire before its 2015 premiere. His base pay was originally said to have been in the $40,000-$50,000 per-episode range at the time, considered typical for an actor of his previous stature and placement on the call sheet. After Empire broke out as a massive ratings hit and cultural phenomenon, Fox and producers 20th Century Fox TV renegotiated the cast’s contracts between the second and third seasons. (Producers 20th TV also gifted the cast Rolex watches as wrap gifts after season one.)

Remaining in the second of what sources describe as three tiers of cast salaries, Smollett’s pay was elevated to upwards of $125,000 per episode. By comparison, stars Terence Howard and Taraji P. Henson — both household names on the top of the call sheet — started out earning in the $110,000-$120,000 per-episode range and, in 2016, were elevated to the $225,000-$250,000 ballpark. Given the current demand for talent in TV, when Netflix and Apple are driving the price for stars of all levels upwards, multiple sources describe Smollett’s current salary to The Hollywood Reporter as being in the the upper echelon for an actor with his experience on a successful show.

[From THR]

THR is pointing out that Jussie actually had a great salary for a TV actor who was a relative unknown before the show. THR ends up theorizing (in so many words) that it wasn’t that Jussie wanted a bigger paycheck on Empire, it’s that he wanted to make a name for himself as a solo recording artist and singer in his own right, off the show. Which makes much more sense as a motive?

Speaking of Empire, after Jussie left his bond hearing, he went straight to the set of Empire. TMZ reports that “the cast and crew were waiting at least 30 minutes for Jussie to begin the scheduled scene. When he eventually showed his face he was very emotional, and surrounded by his family.” He told everyone, “I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this.” Sources told TMZ that Jussie looked like he had been crying, and they let him come back later to shoot his scenes.

Update: Empire producers have suspended Smollett from production, and they’re editing his role out of the final episodes of this season.

Jussie Smollett hides behind his bodyguards as he posts bond in Chicago

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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129 Responses to “Do Chicago police have the wrong motive for Jussie Smollett’s staged assault?”

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  1. Alissa says:

    I guess I’m really confused as to why he’s continuing to profess his innocence, especially since according to reports they have the actual check that he wrote out to pay them for the staged attack. which, why in the world would you ever write out a check for that? paper trails, man!

    this whole thing is bizarre and exhausting and sad. I don’t think that his motive was for a bigger salary at empire, I think it was for name recognition and be known as an activist. but I’ll be honest but I don’t really care what his motive was at this point.

    • Shrute’s beet farm says:

      The bond proffer listed some of the evidence and I just can’t understand why Jussie is maintaining his innocence. Calls to the brothers in the hour before and after the attack, a call to a brother while he was on a layover in Turkey following the attack, the check, and video of the brothers on a bench waiting for Jussie to show so they could “attack” him. They also have video of the brothers purchasing the items worn in the attack and apparently Jussie insisted they were white because he could see white skin around the attackers eyes. The superintendent came right out and said Jussie mailed himself a fake letter, and Jussie has a history of lying to police when it suits him. At this point, wouldn’t it be better for him in the long run to just admit it, take his lumps, and try to rebuild his reputation? I don’t get it.

      • Esmom says:

        “At this point, wouldn’t it be better for him in the long run to just admit it, take his lumps, and try to rebuild his reputation?”

        You would think. I tend to think he actually had a chance to redeem himself. But he seems to choose the route of doubling down. After all, in this day and age, you can deflect and deny and get a pass. Exhibit A: Donald J Trump. Ironically a guy Jussie abhors. Sigh.

      • Kitten says:

        I think it could be at least partially explained by sunk cost fallacy. He’s taken the lie this far and probably feels like there’s no going back.

        Also, he didn’t return phone calls to friends and fellow cast members.
        I mean, COME ON, if you were innocent wouldn’t you be answering every call, desperate to explain to anyone that would listen that this was all a set-up?
        But if you lied, you would feel too ashamed to be confronted by friends–you would actively avoid them.

        He lied and he’s making it so much worse by digging in instead of just coming clean. Sad to watch, really. He’s VERY lucky that he hasn’t been fired yet.

      • sawshuh says:

        The document TMZ had was eye opening. They have cell phone triangulation data of him being at their apartment. They also have some sort of CCTV setup called PODS all over that area, so they accounted for almost every movement the brothers took between texts, taxi footage, and street footage. The sheer amount of evidence they have on this makes me wonder if he’s really THAT stupid or if he wanted to get caught for some reason.

      • Susan says:

        All of that would make sense (admit it and take his lumps), if he wasn’t facing a felony. He has absolutely no incentive to do that without some sort of plea deal on the table. At this point, the DA still has to bring this case to trial and get him convicted. And things can happen between now and then. It would be colossally stupid to confess and apologize right now.

    • LORENA says:

      The brother’s were personal trainers, they had worked with him before. They said he wrote it was for training on the memo line

      • B n A fan says:

        I bet he put “training” on the memo line to cover his butt. I bet if CPD asked the brothers or him to show another check from him they could not show one. The cops have been dealing with crimes for years it’s hard to fool them. JS is a novice, just look at his interview with Robin R.

      • Renee says:

        Jussie is dumb but he’s not exactly going to write “Fake Hate Crime” on the memo line

      • Susan says:

        See, that sounds like reasonable doubt as to at least that piece of evidence.

      • jjva says:

        “Jussie is dumb but he’s not exactly going to write “Fake Hate Crime” on the memo line”


      • jwoolman says:

        The complication is that he is scheduled to do a shirtless video of some sort (music video? can’t remember) and so it actually made sense for him to hire them to help him lose some weight and tone up. Especially if he has done it before.

        This is all so confusing, I think we need to reserve judgment until it’s all sorted. It’s not as though TMZ or the Chicago police department have impeccable reputations.:.. Also it’s not unusual for police to follow their own prejudices rather than do the kind of real investigations we see on tv shows. They are under a lot of pressure to close cases quickly. For example, they like to assume people are murdered by their spouses even lacking any evidence for that. There are certainly people in prison who have finally been exonerated years later by firm evidence. Imagine how many others there might be who are not so lucky. So I’d like to know more about the police pursuing this case. Would they be affected by the apparent MAGA connection? How many serious Trumpies are there in the Chicago PD? Or can we rule that out?

        It is also so weird that the police were leaking all over the place while investigating. I know they aren’t Bob Mueller level, but that seems like an incredibly stupid way to run an investigation.

    • Arpeggi says:

      It was a “Burn after reading”-level of incompetency at trying to stage a crime. He should just admit he did it to save everyone’s time and public funds. And then lay low for the rest of his life.

    • Oliviajoy1995 says:

      I think he’s claiming the check he wrote them was for training lessons they were giving him. Supposedly they also were his gym trainers. Lol

    • Swack says:

      IIRC Jessie wouldn’t turn his phone over to the police as he said he was talking to his manager before all this happened. The police wanted to verify his story about the phone call. Makes more sense now why he would not turn over his phone. I’m playing the waiting game.

      • Alissa says:

        that was the key bit of information that didn’t make sense to me before it came out that it was staged. while I understood not handing over your physical phone (nudes, texts with famous people etc, and TMZ was already all over this case), I couldn’t understand not wanting to hand over the phone records to prove you were on the phone with your manager unless he was lying about something.

        as a sidenote, his manager corroborated his story – is he getting charged with anything?

      • jwoolman says:

        Even as a non-famous person, I wouldn’t turn my phone over to police myself without a warrant, which they did not have. They can verify the call history in other ways with a warrant and should do that anyway for a court case.

    • noway says:

      As a society do we ever learn? I have no idea if he is guilty or not, and the information which has been reported is damning against him. However, there are parts of the police’s story which don’t make sense either. Yes the idea he did this to increase his salary seems odd, as I’m scratching my head at the logic too. Second who writes checks today? I have 3 in my desk for an emergency, and if I fake a crime, I’ll be sure to go to the messy drawer to write a check. The only reason for a check is a paper trail or receipt. Was he planning on deducting it on his taxes? Second, the police said he planned to have it videotaped, but they were on the wrong side of the street. So you want to fake a hate crime of Maga loving assailants and you go the Hamilton route and hire two big black guys as your MAGA loving assailants. Makes sense right? Granted they probably were to be covered up, but seems a big risk, and honestly you don’t know any white guys who might do this? It’s not like there aren’t stupid white criminals too. Granted maybe he’s lived a segregated life like a lot of us, but he’s half white. I find it hard to believe he doesn’t know some white criminals to help with this. Finally, it’s not like the Chicago PD are flawless in their crime solving abilities. Come on we all know they are wrong a fair amount in their guilty proclamations. These are just the obvious things I saw with the limited info I have, and I’m sure his lawyers can find more. I know it seems crazy, but he could be professing his innocence cause it is true. I just wouldn’t be surprised if this turned again into something else. I also thought that once everyone jumped so early on the hate crime bandwagon, they would be less susceptible to jump again. No such luck though. We are way over the bridge into the water of guilty via twitter land.

      On an aside, I see a pattern forming which is disturbing, and I’m not big into conspiracy theories, but still. Why is it the black guys: Bill Cosby, Smollet, the Va. Lt. Governor, and R. Kelly are the ones seeming to get punished first and more for similar crimes and such. I’m not saying some of them don’t deserve it, but so do Harvey Weinstein, the Epstein guy, Bryan Singer, Kevin Spacey, Steve Wynn, Donald Trump, and on and on and on. Or at least the white guys deserve the thorough scrutiny too. Most of those white guys are on the oh so slow boat to prosecution or eating two scoops with chocolate in the White House. Just do we always have to get the black guy first?

      • Alissa says:

        I mean, Kevin Spacey, Donald Trump, and Harvey Weinstein are all currently under investigation. And R. Kelly, Jussie, and the VA Lt. Governor are all in the same boat – none of them have been convicted of anything yet either, to my knowledge. So I guess I’m not entirely sure where you’re going with that.

        I don’t think anybody’s jumping now that the police have gone on the record as to the evidence they have against him. It’s pretty obvious he faked it based on the evidence listed. If he didn’t, there is an AMAZING reason for everything.

      • Beberrturns says:

        Are you serious?! Cosby and Kelly got away with what they did for DECADES.

      • Sheigh says:

        I applause you very much NOWAY. This is the right analyse. Can’t say better.

      • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

        Arguably, he might’ve thought hiring black guys was a clever ploy to throw anyone off the trail. Given the crime he described, he probably thought they’d never consider or arrest his friends because they so absolutely didn’t match the profile.

        At this point his only argument for innocence (and it’s a long shot) is that the cheque was really for training and the brothers staged the whole deception without his knowledge for reasons yet unrevealed, and yet they still pulled the punches (even though he wasn’t in on it) and he didn’t notice. Yeah. Crazy and I don’t genuinely believe that, but at this point there’s no version of this story that isn’t crazy.

  2. Enny says:

    Ugh, yes, a man of such impeccable moral character he tried to frame his own brother for drunk driving… 😒

    • SarahLee says:


    • Wow says:

      His teenage brother. Can you imagine if that child got pulled over for a tail light or something then got popped for a bench warrant?

      Is this man a freaking moron or does he just not give a shit if people get hurt or die.

      Its also not lost on me that he enlisted not just black men for this, but immigrants.

      • Sophie says:

        I believe they are first generation, not immigrants themselves.

      • jan90067 says:

        The brothers are NOT immigrants! Released in a statement from their lawyer:

        “We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens,” brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo said in a statement released by lawyer Gloria Schmidt.

    • Kitten says:

      I’m still reeling from that thread yesterday.

    • Mariposa says:

      Yeah. And as for the speculation about motive, I’m think people who know him personally would have a fair idea of the motive (did he really want to be seen as a hero? Did he want to have a solo singing career? Was it purely political?)

      • BuddyJack says:

        Serious question…does the motive really matter? Is there any possible motive (excuse,) that makes this ok or better?

        I don’t need to know why he did it, because he is a POS and I have no use for his effed up thinking.

  3. STRIPE says:

    It doesn’t matter that THR thinks he’s well paid, if HE thought he was underpaid. In the end the motive is more or less the same, seems to me? He is accused of faking a hate crime to benefit himself/his career, what that meant to him at the time, specifically (higher pay now? Or a singing career later? Both? Neither?), doesn’t make a difference

    • Erinn says:

      And judging by the level of narcissism involved in this whole stunt – I really don’t doubt that he’d think he should be getting more.

    • Renee says:

      Exactly, they’re trying to prove he faked a hate crime. It doesn’t matter if he wants to be a more popular actor or singer or American hero. It’s not like they’re going to go “oh, you were trying to be a hero and it wasn’t about your salary? well then we’ll reduce the punishment.”

  4. Loopy says:

    I keep hearing different figures for his bond other sites are saying it’s $10 000…to be honest the bond system in US always left me confused after watching the bounty hunter pay for people’s bonds.

    • B n A fan says:

      His bond is $100,000. He is allowed to pay 10% of $100,000 means he gave a check or cash for $10,000 to get out. If he does not show up for court the judge will send out a warrant to pick him up and he would be responsible for the other $90,000. I believe that’s how it goes, not completely sure.

      • Lightpurple says:

        That’s exactly how it goes.

      • STRIPE says:

        That’s my understanding as well. I think Dog the Bounty Hunter is a bail bondsman first (based on your comment I’ve never seen the show). They loan you the $ and charge interest. Most bounty hunters work for bondsmen and go find people who have been bailed out but skip court

      • Kitten says:

        Thanks, B n A Fan…I didn’t understand the bond stuff either.

      • Susan says:

        The key thing to understand is that the 10% is being paid to a third party businessperson, a bondsman, who keeps the $10,000 fee as payment. It is never returned to the defendant. That bondsman is legally liable to the court for the balance of $90,000 if the defendant does not show up for his court date. That is why bondsmen put in the effort and expense to hunt bond jumpers down. They have serious financial issues if they don’t.

        This setup is opposed to paying the bail amount yourself directly to the court. If you have the cash and can afford to do so, you save yourself the bond fee by paying the whole amount to the court. You get that money back at the end if you didn’t jump bail.

      • STRIPE says:

        Thanks for the info on that Susan! I assumed bondsmen charged interest lol

    • Veronica S. says:

      All you have to know about the bond system in America is that it’s garbage and often leveraged against the poor and working classes to pressure them into accepting plea deals (and therefore getting a record, innocent or not) because they can’t afford to pay it and definitely can’t afford to lose their jobs sitting around in jail.

  5. RBC says:

    I am curious as to what the producers of Empire will do next with this situation. On one hand it has probably brought the show more attention and maybe higher ratings. But, at the same time the cast and crew who had supported Jussie must be feeling a lot of hurt and resentment at how everything has turned out. I can’t imagine it will be easy for Jussie to continue working with the show. I see Jussie’s character being written off the show( thought to have died in a accident off screen)for a period of time and then returning with a different actor.

  6. Cindy says:

    The other day on facebook some douches were crying about Jussie and how alarming these fake reports of hate crimes are. Because Jussie was stupid and did it wrong, but think of all the innocent white men that have been imprisoned and lost their careers over fake accusations of fake crimes. Because Jussie did it wrong, there must obviously be a million people doing it right.

    I dont want to see this f*cker’s face ever again.

      • Cindy says:

        My point was that all it takes is for ONE fake report like this to blow up in the media for people to start treating it like an epidemic.

      • otaku fairy says:

        That sounds about right. Some are going to carefully step over all the cases where there were actual victims and put the spotlight on the few cases where somebody lied. That’s always been a thing, but this situation is just more ammunition.

    • Shrute’s beet farm says:

      That’s terrible. I’ve heard it all at this point, down to it’s an Empire conspiracy because one of his costars falsely accused police of racial profiling until police brought the receipts. He has done so much damage to real victims and to his costars, and he diverted police resources to himself when real crimes are going unsolved.

    • Kitten says:

      Oh I bet the MRA dudes are LOVING every second of this.

    • styla says:

      There’s a massive list of fake reports just like this. It’s kind of frightening. In fact, there’s been a major increase since Trump was elected. Google “fake hate crime list.”

      That said, and I hope this is true for the majority of people… hate crimes are real and they happen every day. This guy and this list won’t make me feel as though the next report is a lie.

      • Cindy says:

        Oh, yes, I’m aware fake reports like that do exist. Because liars with a bottomless thirst for attention do exist.

        It’s the same thing with fake sexual assault accusations. The chances of an innocent man being being maliciously accused of a fake sexual assault are pretty slim. The chances of that going to court are even slimmer. The chances of him being convicted for it are veeeeeery slim. It’s much more likely for a woman to actually be sexually assaulted. MUCH more.

        The fact these fake reports are brought up to do “both sides” arguments is ridiculous. These things dont happen on the same level or with the same frequency. Hate crimes literally KILL people. I could easily name 5 fatal victims of hate crimes in the USA. Can you name 5 people who were falsely accused of hate crimes, and died because of it?

  7. Rapunzel says:

    He pretended he was his brother when he got pulled over for a DUI. This man has clearly got a history of lying. I agree, however, that this probably isn’t a salary thing.

    • maria s says:

      I also tend to think it wasn’t strictly about the salary. There might be a grain of truth there though like maybe he was unhappy about the way his career was in general. He clearly wanted to make himself bigger in some way.

      • Ana Maria says:

        I think this whole thing might have been motivated for the obvious reason of atenttion and, just a hunch, somehow make a name for himself now that he is nearing an age where he no longer gets the best roles

  8. Elena says:

    I’m not really sure why they feel the need to talk about motive, except that there has been so much public interest in this case and the PD is trying to provide some resolution.

    • Esmom says:

      That’s what I was thinking. Isn’t motive up to the prosecuting attorney(s) to prove?

      • Bunny says:

        Proving motive is never a legal requirement.

        Prosecutors have to prove that the crime was committed by the defendant. They never have to prove “why”.

        Often motive is proven, in the course of the trial, but not always.

      • LadyT says:

        No, proving a motive is not legally necessary. Prosecutors attempt to use motive to paint a complete, effective picture related to their evidence for a jury’s satisfaction but the “why” is NOT part of the legal standard for conviction. Likewise defense attorneys bring up the question to cast shadows on the evidence and create doubt– notably effective in circumstantial cases- which this is NOT.

      • Esmom says:

        Bunny, LadyT, Yeah I realized I actually knew that proof wasn’t required. Bad choice of words.

      • noway says:

        Proving motive is not required, but in this case they will probably have to provide some kind of motive. Cause why would anyone hurt themselves physically, which is what they are asserting. Yes there are tangental victims of the crime, society, police, etc., but the only victim physically hurt was Jussie, and you are going to have to provide some reason why he would do it.

      • Still_Sarah says:

        Back to my law school days (so long ago). A crime has two parts (1) guilty actions – the guilty act or in latin actus reus. So can they prove he did it? (2) a guilty mind or mens rea. Can they prove he intended to do it? To me, having a motive would support having a guilty mind. Otherwise I would think that motive is a parlour game thing. I used to do criminal defence law and I can tell you why anyone does it – because they are being stupid and it foolishly seemed like a good idea at the time and/or they thought they could get away with it. As for why the cops prosecuted him? Because that was where the evidence took them. It’s not like they had to make it up.

    • B n A fan says:

      I believe they talked about motive because the first thing EVERYONE asked, “ why would he do such a thing”. The brothers said he told them he was doing it because his salary was to low. He might have lied to them, but that’s what they have. It’s obvious he lies to justify his actions.

  9. Lightpurple says:

    The Chicago Police do not need to prove motive. They need to gather evidence that a crime was committed and hand that over to the prosecutor. The prosecutor needs to present the evidence to a judge or jury. What did he do? Is what he did a crime? That’s it.

    • Esmom says:

      Ha, yes, I asked that question just above, didn’t scroll far enough. I also found it odd that the police chief got into motive, it actually struck me as a bit theatrical. Although maybe did the grand jury need some idea of motive in order to move ahead with charges?

      • LadyT says:

        Everyone is going to be talking motive. It’s human nature to want every piece of the puzzle neatly in place. It’s just not legally necessary to know or to prove “why.”

    • Nene says:

      I was also going to ask how motive is relevant since its not part of the elements of a crime

    • isabelle says:

      That and the true requirement for the defendant is to prove if the state has sufficient evidence. They in no way are required to prove the innocence of their client.

    • Anna says:

      And we know how trustworthy the Chicago police are [giant eyeroll]

      • isabelle says:

        Slimy or not, it isn’t up to any police department to prove a motive. They can make assumptions without proving a motive. They arrest on cumulative evidence or after interviewing. It is up to the state not the police department to prove a motive. They can suggest it but don’t need to to prove it.

      • noway says:

        It’s not up to the Chicago PD to prove guilt or innocent either. They presented this case to the DA who went to Grand Jury and he was indicted. Now a lot of people say you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich so go where you want with that. The trial will say whether he is guilty, and his defense attorney will have a chance to present their side of the story.

        I believe since he was the only one “directly” physically hurt, they are going to have prove motive. Otherwise for lack of better words, he seems crazy. Which you aren’t going to get compensatory money and maximum sentence with that. This is why the police were stressing it in the news conference.

  10. Cidy says:

    I mean…. clearly hes said and done some problematic things so at this point the best strategy might be total transparency. “I did this because…” and turn it into some kind of message or ask for help for the problem he clearly has be it lying or whatever..

  11. Kittycat says:

    The fact that the police department did a press conference just to announce that this was about money is odd.

    But the Chicago pd is nothing if not odd

  12. Toniko says:

    Have you heard Charles Barkley joke about this last night?

    “ wasted all that money. All you had to do was go to Liam Neeson’s neighborhood” “

  13. Mia4s says:

    “…it’s that he wanted to make a name”

    Ding. Ding. Ding. No shade to Empire and it’s success, but it’s already been as big as it is ever going to be and has been on a downward coast ever since. That’s normal, but it also means they are closer to the end than the beginning. He was never going to get “more famous” than he is now off of Empire alone.Far, far bigger stars than this guy have ended on hit shows and not been able to transition to anything half as big. Sometimes that’s fine if you saved your money, but not good for big egos.

    • Kitten says:

      Yeah this is the most plausible motive to me. The salary motive makes less sense because my guess is that if he wanted more he could have talked to Ava DuVernay about it….but who knows.

    • Bryn says:

      i would guess the same, he was definitely trying to make a name for himself, empire is going on its seventh season I think, and he is far from a household name. The show will probably end soon. Plus, didn’t he call himself “the gay Tupac” shortly after this happened. The guy wants to be well known as an actor or activist or something is my guess, now he will just be known as a joke.

    • Mommy2b says:

      I always thought it was a better career move to start out on the big screen and transition to tv later. But I can’t imagine a gay, black and unknown actor turning down a role on empire.

  14. B n A fan says:

    I believe the CPD, Eddie Johnson said he did it because of his salary on Empire. I believe that’s what the brothers told the police he told them was his reason.

    Last week I mentioned that I looked up his net worth and it was $500,000 and mentioned this here, and I thought he would be worth more. Someone commented that he was worth more. Also, I have heard his salary is from $20,000 per episode to over $120,000 per episode, who knows the truth. I believe he did this for money and to build up his following for his music career. Anyway, whatever it is he’s a very selfish person.

    • Mia4s says:

      Those sites that list net worth are highly unreliable and often way out of date, so you’re right to be skeptical. We really do not know. And even if his salary was now $125,000 an episode (the lower numbers are likely from early seasons), I could believe he was dissatisfied with his fame level and pay. It’s big money but Netflix, Disney, Apple, all the streamers are paying much more per episode (that why they can get movie actors). There are a lot of miserable multimillionaire Oscar winners out there, Hollywood is not a healthy place.

  15. JByrdKU says:

    I don’t think it matters one little bit why he did what he did. Unless this turns out to be a massive frame job by the Chicago P.D. (and I seriously doubt it was), then why are we even considering how they ‘handled it’ as if it that’s the focus of this entire story. Bottom line, it sounds like he took advantage of the horrendous political climate, and whatever the reason was it was clearly for personal gain.

    All he managed to do was damage future victims who would’ve already had a difficult time being believed. Of course the Chicago P.D. is going to assume the motive was personal gain.

  16. Nichole says:

    TMZ has a clip of him in a rap battle with one of the OITNB cast members, and he was actually REALLY good. It’s not going to air now.

  17. Rapunzel says:

    Re: how the CPD handled this, imo, It was dumb of Jussie to believe he could get away with this. The CPD is obviously gonna look up your criminal record when you file a report of such a crime, despite any claims of victim status. He has a documented history of lying to police. They (the police) were naturally gonna see that and get suspicious. Thus, they were gonna dig, and gonna catch him. His record would have made them immediately focus on any inconsistency.

    Jussie clearly forgot that experienced cops have seen every type of liar, and aren’t just gonna blindly believe anyone. Jussie simply didn’t think they would look at him carefully.

  18. Chef Grace says:

    Innocent until proven guilty or guilty until proven innocent?
    I do not know but the evidence is piling up. If he has a narcissistic personality disorder and is a very manipulative person I can see why he is still being the victim and trying to gaslight everyone. Those types are never guilty, In their little minds. I have read some posts in other places where some are claiming he is being black mailed by the brothers. I am like WTF?
    I just know this has now become political in so many arenas and Jusse has become a poster child for the deplorable’s to use at will.
    I am just done with this mess.

  19. Jay says:

    Ok let me explain something: I issue statements to reporters semi regularly about high profile cases I get. You NEVER say anything of substance. You talk about the presumption of innocence and get out. Why would I telegraph my punch on my real theories, and in writing, and nationally? I wouldn’t. Anyone looking to public statements by attorneys for hard hitting legal strategy is not going to find it unless the attorney is a rookie.

    Additionally, while we can start developing theories early on, its often a crap shoot of speculation until we see discovery and see what the state has. I appear at 26&Cal, where Jussie did, all the time. Discovery won’t be complete formaby months. He won’t even get his actual trial judge for at LEAST a month.

  20. Helen says:

    ymmv re: iyanla vanzant, but she said something interesting when interviewed about this “i have also lied to get my way.”

    lord knows i’ve done and said immoral and stupid shit to get out of pickles and/or get what i want.

    wonder what extreme thinking/mindset would lead one to self-sabotage so stupidly, selfishly, spectacularly. he’s basically also ruined all his siblings’ careers (journee is also an actress/musician and jazz is in the whole cooking/lifestyle tv realm).

    there but for the grace of god we go and all that. whew.

    • Esmom says:

      He’s not the first to lie to get ahead but most people (I hope) don’t hatch semi-complicated, fraudulent schemes and then file false police reports. I don’t think Jussie intended to become a con man, he was just a desperate and greedy guy who really didn’t think through all the collateral damage he’d be doing with this stunt. Which also makes him pretty stupid and utterly selfish.

    • frizz says:

      I have family with personality disorder and this is reminiscent of that kind of manipulative thinking, but on a very grand scale. It’s very important for someone suffering from one of those to be seen by others in a certain way. This seems to me like he wanted sympathy and attention.

      I don’t think the CPD’s issue of motive is as important as the fact that the city probably spent hundreds of thousands in labor and time investigating what turned out to be a stunt.

  21. minx says:

    What an idiot.

  22. Courtney says:

    I haven’t been following this very closely in the last week, but isn’t it possible that the brothers were homophobic and did this on their own? I mean, they could have jumped on the “staged” bandwagon as a defense once they were identified. Maybe the check written to them was just a convenient source of fake evidence…Yes, Jussie knew them, but that doesn’t guarantee they are good people.

  23. everlyB says:

    He did it for attention, wanting to be a hero. It’s not about his salary, that’s just to cover up his delusions of grandeur. Stop dragging the brothers into it, they were just trying to help. All three are dumb as rocks. He cannot admit he did it to avoid jail, I wish he would leave God out of it when declaring his innocence. He won’t commit suicide either, these people always make a next plan to hit big.

    • hunter says:

      “Stop dragging the brothers into it, they were just trying to help.”

      Agreed – they come out of this looking super cooperative, reliable and good-willed. I like them.

  24. Renee says:

    This man referred to himself as the “gay Tupac” a few days after the incident. SMH…what else is there to say? His narcissism caused this entire fiasco.

  25. Emby says:

    Who cares?
    He did a horrible thing and I wish people would stop desperately searching for a sympathetic angle to soothe the burn.

  26. Harryg says:

    It always baffles me when someone chooses to use their energy “the wrong way.” Some complicated fraud, when the legal way would be easier and would take the same amount of effort.
    Smollett could have written a screenplay about a character who stages a hate crime. He could have produced this indie movie and starred in it. It could have been a comedy.

  27. B n A fan says:

    Anyone saw the Joke – fake check on the internet

    NOW he’s the butt of jokes every where.

  28. Elaine says:

    What a moron. To claim innocence at this point is beyond offensive. I hope he gets jail time.

  29. erika says:

    the more i hear the more he sounds like my rich narcissist cousin who will do anything for success and doesn’t care who he hurts.

  30. CES says:

    What he did was absolutely disgusting and sociopathic. It doesn’t deserve any sympathy at all especially for the real victims of hate crimes. He deserves to be black balled from Hollywood

  31. jules says:

    There’s a great article that talks about why people fake crimes. Only about 5% of crimes are faked, but it does happen, and investigators know when things sound suspicious.

    • minx says:

      I didn’t weigh in on this thing for a long time, but I thought it sounded hinky. And I couldn’t even put my finger on why, exactly. But I just waited and, yep, it came out.

      • Alissa says:

        These were the things that seemed off to me:
        1. The when and where of the attacks. Crazy late at night, in the middle of a polar vortex?
        2. The “this is MAGA country!” statement. Who talks like that? And while I know Chicago has a lot of racist issues, it’s not really MAGA territory. It also seemed to coincide too soon after the Covington nonsense, although that’s entirely coincidental most likely.
        3. Him refusing to turn over his phone records initially, which would have verified that he was on the phone with his manager.
        4. That they apparently beat him, dumped bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck but he…had no real injuries? No throat injuries from the rope around his neck, no bloody nose or anything from the attack, etc. I know he said he fought back, but he’s not The Rock, if two dudes jumped him unexpectedly I would imagine he’d be a bit more injured.
        5. That he wasn’t left unconscious or bleeding or anything. So these two guys planned this attack, he fought back a little bit, and they just…ran off? And that was that? Because based on what they had with them, it HAD to be a premeditated attack.

        And some of that sounds victim-blamey, which is why I didn’t really discuss much more than the phone record thing online. But it was definitely a weird case from the beginning.

        Then he called himself the gay Tupac in his concert a week later and I really didn’t understand what he was doing.

  32. To Be Flair says:

    It doesn’t matter if they have the wrong motive; if the dude committed the crime, he needs to be held accountable.

  33. Vegan says:

    Maybe someone made him do this … you never know what goes on behind closed doors . He could’ve been blackmailed and had to do this in order to benefit a bigger power (the fallout from this case will make major political waves, maybe that benefits someone out there) , either that or he just made a really really stupid poorly calculated mistake

  34. LadyT says:

    No doubt everyone has their guess as to why he did what he did, including the Chief of Police. But apparently *pay raise* has been officially stated, not guessed. Jussie isn’t talking. The brothers are and it’s the reason Jussie gave them, which they gave to detectives.
    Doesn’t mean it’s true or the actual reason. I’m sure the prosecutors will have a lot more to say.

  35. velvet says:

    Probably unpopular comment but I believe him. I grew up outside chicago and I wouldnt trust a cpd cop under any circumstances.

    • Katie says:

      I still believe Jussie that he was attacked. Look at his post-bond release photos – he still has real bruises healing from his encounter 3 weeks ago. The court of public/social media opinion is swift, unfair, and not necessarily based on facts. Who of us can say we have never lied in our lives? E.g., to your sister-in-law, “Oh, your new haircut and color are gorgeous!” Eh-hem, not. Based on actual past crimes, including indicted murder by one of Chicago PD’s own, I do not trust many cops to be truthful. So, when did we start trusting TMZ to be a reputable news source? Tabloid gossip has no place in legal proceedings. Look at the National Enquirer ( I feel there’s a definite political/monetary motive in all of this to Mr. Smolletts’ detriment and all of ours. These are sad days we are living in, my friends.

      • Patty says:

        Occums Razor. Jussie Smollett isn’t and wasn’t famous enough for there to be some far reaching conspiracy to bring him down.

        Also there’s a huge difference between being gentle and considerate with a friend or relative and flat out lying about some serious shit that has real and actual consequences.

    • Katie says:

      Patty – Occam’s Razor can work several ways, depending on your translative POV.

      The simplest explanation is that Jussie Smolletts is reporting the truth of what happened to him to the best of his ability. I know if I were attacked like that, I would have panicked, been confused and fuzzy in the head, and not known what to do.

      However, as soon as “MAGA” entered into the narrative, it became an entity that had little to do with Jussie whether he was famous or not. Heck, he could have been Joe Shmoe from anywhere, USA.

      Look at those kids the weekend of MLK holiday in DC during the shutdown; they wore MAGA hats and it became an internet event.

      I still believe we are all liars for whatever reason, to any extent, even if it’s for being gentle to someone else or for flat out lying in a federal crime. I also believe people in power will lie and manipulate to cover their arses.

      • Patty says:

        The people in power had nothing to lose or gain with what happened with Jussie. What exactly would they be covering up here? Everything isn’t a big conspiracy. Here’s what happened Jussie said he was attacked; the Chicago PD who are by no means perfect put over 11 detectives on the case to investigate what happened. And isn’t that what we want? Don’t we want there to always be a thorough investigation when someone claims they are a victim of a crime? Sadly, in this case the evidence and the facts have indicated that there was likely no crime and that it was a set-up.

        Politicians, people in power, the Chicago PD has nothing to lose or gain here. Let’s say the evidenced showed that he was attacked, well the assailants were two black men, not in fact two white Trump supporting MAGA fans. You really think that the Chicago PD would go out of their own to pass up being able to attest two black men, so they can arrest one? I like what Trevor Noah has to say:

        Think about the facts, the evidence, the paper trail, the cell phone records, the cctv footage here, and sadly Jussie’s version of the events really do not make logical sense. Also as far as lying, speak for yourself. And no, not all people are liars. It’s that kind of attitude that leads to people’s accusations not being taken seriously and investigated.

  36. Class Ceiling says:

    ‘I was losing my mind yesterday yelling at people who were saying he made this up.

    “He was just at Kamala Harris’s rally. This is obviously a set-up to make Trump look bad”.

    Um, really? A talented actor on a hit tv show is going to risk his career and public blowback just to send a message about Trump? Ok sure. Except No. WHY would he make this up? What is the possible pay-off for such a huge risk? And it’s not like we need him to show that Trump’s supporters are racist. We know they are. Most of us have always known.

    “It was Chicago. That is NOT ‘MAGA Country’”.

    Newsflash: there are white people living in Chicago and yes, some are racist. Chicago and other blue cities (like my city Boston) are NOT immune to racist, homophobic acts of hate.

    “Why would he be walking around a dangerous neighborhood in -2 degree weather late at night?”

    Because he was hungry. Because he probably doesn’t feel scared or uncomfortable in a city that he has spent plenty of time in. I mean, are we REALLY suggesting that it’s so bizarre someone might venture out into the city in search of late-night eats?

    Why not just admit that you don’t believe him because he’s black? No need to twist yourself in knots trying to think of reasons why he would fake this whole thing.’

    Gah. I hate MAGA Twitter so much. They are just the WORST effin people.”


  37. J.Mo says:

    I don’t believe anyone has mentioned that he said “yes” to drug problem on some official form and claimed to have bought pills from one of the brothers. This will probably be his “forgive me” excuse for what he’s done.

  38. Christine says:

    Honestly, shame on him.

  39. Patty says:

    Trevor Noah’s commentary has been spot on when it comes to Jussie Smollet. I’d encourage everyone to listen to what he has had to say.

    Also, never thought I’d agree with Bill Maher but I like what he had to say about taking accusations seriously and the importance of law enforcement doing a thorough investigation to get the facts – instead of automatically believing everything; and letting the facts and evidence speak for themselves.

    That’s the approach our take, I listen and take people seriously but considering the history of this country and the multitude of false accusations against black citizens in particular – I’ve learned not to always believe everything.

  40. Worker and Parasite says:

    Team due process.

  41. Zig says:

    This is so odd.

    And with all of the actual hate crimes going on, he should be ashamed of himself.

  42. Yes Doubtful says:

    What is making things even worse is he continues to lie and “swear to God” that he’s telling the truth. If he admitted his wrongdoing and sincerely apologized, that would go a long way.