JUSSIE SMOLLETT: Empire scenes slashed in half


Despite an outpouring of support when he first reported an alleged hate crime supposedly perpetrated against him, "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett is now losing supporters fast.

In a joint statement issued to CNN affiliate WBBM, the men said: "We are not racist". We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump.

Smollett, who is African-American and openly gay, reported he was physically attacked while he was getting a sandwich around 2 a.m. on January 29 near his home in downtown Chicago.

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In his trademark black suit, white shirt, dark sunglasses and powdered ponytail, he pioneered the concept of a personal brand. In addition to his famed fashion designs, he was also well known as a photographer and video director.

Two brothers were arrested and released in connection with the attack but are no longer suspects at this time, Chicago police said Monday.

Rapper Cardi B weighed in on the controversy on Wednesday, saying if Smollett did stage the attack he has ruined Black History Month, which runs for the entire month every February.

But, citing "multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation", NBC News reported that the Chicago Police Department has requested the details from their counterparts in Los Angeles.

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A police spokesman said that Chicago police have told Smollett's attorneys they want to do a follow-up interview with the actor.

The director Ava DuVernay sent a tweet about Smollett as well and agreed with Cardi about Chicago police not having the best track record when it comes to having transparent investigations. "We have no further comment today", Anne Kavanaugh with Media Pros 24/7 said. "That character uses the same racial slurs Smollett told police his attackers screamed at him, including "f****t" and 'n****r'". Smollett is said to have directed the purchase of the rope, and paid the brothers $3,500 and promised an extra $500.

Once reports of staging began to surface, Smollett's lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson released a statement.

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Smollett adamantly maintains he is a victim. "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". "Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying".