Robin Roberts Calls Jussie Smollett Hoax a 'Setback For Race Relations'

Brenda Watkins
February 22, 2019

The producers of the TV show "Empire" say Jussie Smollett's character will be removed from the final two episodes of this season.

Weeks after the Democratic presidential contender came out in support of Smollett after he reported that he was attacked and had racist and homophobic slurs hurled at him and a noose-type rope tied about his neck, Harris released a statement and condemned the actor for making "false" claims. "I'm offended by what's happened and I'm also angry".

Police say that Smollett paid two acquaintances who were later caught on surveillance video the night of the attack.

Johnson said Thursday he spoke not only as the police superintendent, but as a black man who grew up in Chicago and understands the city's racial divide. Johnson also alleged that Smollett concocted the threatening letter he received prior to the alleged attack that contained homophobic and racist language, and when that "didn't work", went ahead with the alleged attack. Though he's the focus of much negativity and criticism, his attorneys released a statement pointing out that Smollett proclaims his innocence and has yet to have his day in court. His lawyers vowed to "mount an aggressive defense" and told Fox News their client "enjoys the presumption of innocence".

January 31 - Smollett's family release a statement in which they condemned the alleged assault on the actor, describing it as a "violent and unprovoked attack".

After admitting on MSNBC that Smollett has done "tremendous damage" because the right-wing is now saying that "victim narratives" are "rampant and not true", Stafford, the editor-in-chief of the LGBT publication, suggested that police officers conducted their investigation in way that would harm Smollett. "When anyone makes false claims to police, it not only diverts resources away from serious investigations but it makes it more hard for other victims of crime to come forward".

Jussie Smollett: Empire star 'staged hoax attack over salary'
The felony disorderly conduct charge emerged on the same day detectives and the two brothers testified before a grand jury. He drove them home, wrote a check to one of the brothers for $3,500 and flew to NY , prosecutors said.

"The police were openly confirming and not confirming certain reports and not doing it to other parts of the story, and so due to the vocal nature in this case, it was really peculiar", Stafford said.

"Like most of you, I've seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I'm sad, frustrated and disappointed".

"When anyone makes false claims to police, it not only diverts resources away from serious investigations but it makes it more hard for other victims of crime to come forward", Harris wrote on Twitter. "Defendant Smollett further detailed that he wanted Abel to attack him, but not hurt him too badly, and to give him a chance to appear to fight back".

20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment initially stood behind the actor and his role on "Empire", but his future is now under review.

Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct and faces up to three years in jail and substantial fines if he's found guilty. His next hearing is set for March 14.

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