Chicago Police Accuse “Empire” Star Of Staging Racist, Homophobic Attack To Advance Career
In just a few short days, Jussie Smollett has gone from victim to victor to villain.
The actor, 36, was arrested and charged with felony disorderly conduct this week for allegedly staging his own racist and homophobic assault and sending himself hate mail.
Almost from the start, Smollett’s story appeared to have major holes in it. He claimed to not only have been beaten up by MAGA supporters but targeted with a threatening letter days before. Someone was out to get him.
But the jig was apparently up when Smollett’s alleged attackers – who coincidentally were “Empire” extras – told police that he’d hired them to assault him. Then video emerged of his alleged “attackers” buying masks and red hats, adding more weight to their claims.
Then Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson accused the “Empire” star of setting up his own attack because he was upset over his salary on the Fox drama. Superintendent Johnson called Smollett’s alleged actions a disgrace and a “slap in the face to all Chicagoans.”
“To put the national spotlight on Chicago on something that was both egregious and untrue is simply shameful,” Superintendent Johnson said, adding that Smollett “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to further his career.”
But this was much bigger than a salary dispute. Smollett’s alleged stunt was a poorly planned cry for help from a man with an admitted drug problem who is obviously dissatisfied with his life and career, and perhaps is in the throes of a major mental health emergency. Besides sympathy, Smollett had nothing to gain from this alleged hoax and the only difference between him and the millions of Americans struggling with their mental health is that he had a platform to project his alleged victim fantasy to the world.
One psychiatrist in Houston who has been following the case said she believes he is in crisis and might be having a psychotic break.
“I would say that this level of deception and belief in a lie makes a diagnosis of either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia,” the psychiatrist, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “A person with a personality disorder would try to be manipulative. He is experiencing a break from reality – he went on TV and was convinced he was attacked.”
“I actually feel sorry for him, because he has tarnished his career forever,” the psychiatrist added.
Only time will tell how this story will end, but in the meantime, Smollett deserves compassion from us. The last thing he needs is our condemnation. He is obviously not well, and if the public backlash is too great, that rejection could put him over the edge and maybe even trigger self-harm.
Both Smollett, as well as his attorneys, have denied that he’s behind the incidents and insist he is a victim. But if this was a giant lie, it’s a desperate act from a desperate man who clearly needs help.