Out actor Jussie Smollett's lawyers
have denied reports that he might have staged his own attack.
Smollett, who is black and came out gay
in 2015, has said that he was attacked last month by two men in
downtown Chicago. The men hurled racial and homophobic slurs and
told Smollett that he was in “MAGA country.”
Smollett at home recovering after possible anti-gay hate crime.)
Multiple outlets, including CNN and The
Chicago Tribune, reported over the weekend that Chicago police
are investigating whether Smollett paid two men $3,500 to orchestrate
The reports come after police released
two brothers from Nigeria in connection with the alleged attack.
Police released the men on Friday without any charges, citing “new
“Detectives have additional
investigative work to complete,” a police spokesman said in a
Smollett's lawyers have denied the
“As a victim of a hate crime who has
cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered
and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are
individuals he is familiar with,” the lawyers said in a statement.
“He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these
alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack.
Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is
“One of these purported suspects was
Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for
a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could
have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim
Jussie’s complicity,” they added.
If found guilty of staging his own
attack, Smollett could face years in prison.