Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett sent a racist and homophobic threatening letter to himself at the Fox studio lot before he staged an attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary, the Associated Press reports. Smollett said he was victimized when he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, but he turned himself in Thursday after being charged for making up the story.
The whispers about Smollett’s account started with reports that he had not fully cooperated with police after telling authorities. Then detectives in a city bristling with surveillance cameras could not find video of the beating. Later, two brothers were taken into custody for questioning but were released after two days, with police saying they were no longer suspects. Following three weeks of mounting suspicions, Smollett was charged Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct, a charge that could bring up to three years in prison and force the actor, who is black and gay, to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating.