Back in January, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was attacked in what Chicago police called a hate crime. In the initial report, provided by Smollett’s 60-year-old friend, Smollett was attacked by two men who were hollering homophobic and racial slurs.
According to police, Smollett was found with stained clothing and “white rope draped around” his neck, as he explained an unknown chemical, presumably bleach, was poured on him in the attack. He also said the men beat him “about the face,” using their hands, feet and teeth as weapons.
But now, nearly two weeks after the incident, many have grown skeptical about the entire story, especially since officials have yet to identify the suspects.
“I don’t believe it happened the way he said it did,” Agin Muhammad, Smollett’s high-rise neighbor said of the attack, according to The New York Post. “I’ve been in this neighborhood five years. I don’t believe it, not around here….Half the people are gay and the other half are black.”
“It’s a lie, because Chicago is the most liberal city around,” a customer from an Irish Pub near the scene of the crime said, adding it “doesn’t really make sense.”
“They have cameras everywhere…Why can’t they find the attack.”
In the era of viral videos, social media and swift justice, much more racists and homophobic bigots are being called on their prejudice attitudes and discriminatory actions. But, after officials pulled several surveillance videos of the area – none of which captured the incident – many grew skeptical about Smollett’s case.
In addition to that, Smollett had yet to turn over his cell phone records to confirm and verify that he was on the phone with his manager, Brandon Moore, who claimed he heard the attackers yell, “MAGA Country.” However, as of Monday, sources confirmed that actor has, in fact, turned over both his and his manager’s cell phone records to confirm the call.
In the meantime, officials have confirmed Smollett’s claims to be credible. However, according to Chicago POlice Superintendent Eddie Johnson, while Smollett’s case is being treated as a hate crime, he said the actor will be held accountable if he filed a false report.