Actor Jussie Smollett may have got the idea for his hoax homophobic attack from an emotional Instagram post by Lee Daniels. The Empire director wrote a heartfelt Instagram post on Jan. 10, after his cousin was assaulted because of his homosexuality.
TMZ reports Smollett may have got the idea to stage a homophobic attack on himself in hopes of becoming an "LGBT hero" and to play on Daniels's emotions.
Smollett, 36, was arrested by Chicago police on Thursday, Feb. 21, and charged with filing a false police report, a felony in Illinois that carries a 1-3 year prison term.
Smollett posted a $100,000 bond on Friday. The troubled actor told police he was attacked by 2 Trump supporters while walking home from a Subway restaurant at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. Smollett said the 2 men assaulted him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs at him.
The actor's manager Brandon Z. Moore said he heard one of the men yell, "This is MAGA country." MAGA is an acronym for President Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again."
In the caption of a video posted on Instagram on Jan. 10, Daniels, 59, wrote:
"This past week my cousin was beat up for being gay and I am sick of hearing these stories... For all the people who are hurting, who are struggling, and who are trying to find some meaning in this life, I am here to say if you need a safe place or a ear to listen, then I’m here. I’m listening to what you’re saying and what you’re going through. I am standing up for you and will continue to fight for you."
According to TMZ, Daniels told Empire cast members about the homophobic attack on his cousin, and cast members were visibly upset.
After the alleged attack on Smollett, Daniels posted a video on his Instagram account, referring to Smollett as "my son."
"It's taken me a minute to come to social media about this because, Jussie, you are my son," an emotional Daniels said in the video which has since been deleted.
After a thorough investigation by at least a dozen detectives, the Chicago police determined Smollett paid two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, $3,500 to help him stage the hate crime. The brothers were not charged.
Smollett denies faking his own attack and he continues to insist he is a victim of a racist, homophobic attack.
Smollett's character was written out of the last 2 episodes of Empire's upcoming 2nd half of season 5.
Producers have requested protection from Chicago police when the cast and crew films scenes in Chicago on Wednesday.
Smollett's co-star Terrence Howard defended his TV son in an Instagram post on Saturday.
"All your lil homies got you. We love the hell outta you," Howard captioned a video showing Smollett playing with Howard's young son, Hero.
Smollett plays Howard's openly homosexual middle son on the Fox Television musical about a Black record label dynasty in Chicago.
Howard was quick to reply when a fan criticized him for defending his co-star.
"Sorry you feel that way but that's the only Jussie I know," he wrote in a reply to one fan.
"The Jussie I know could never even conceive of something so unconscious and ugly. His innocence or judgment is not for any of us to decide. Stay in your lane and my lane is empathy and love and compassion for someone I’ve called my son for five years. It’s God’s job to judge and it’s ours to love and hope, especially for those that we claim to have loved."
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This past week my cousin was beat up for being gay and I am sick of hearing these stories. It’s the beginning of a new year and we need to do better. We need to continue to remember to love and to turn against the hate that we’re seeing out there. But we all need to fight that fight together. For all the people who are hurting, who are struggling, and who are trying to find some meaning in this life, I am here to say if you need a safe place or a ear to listen, then I’m here. I’m listening to what you’re saying and what you’re going through. I am standing up for you and will continue to fight for you. This is my mission and message to you for the beginning of 2019. If you are struggling check out the link in my bio and please go to @glaad @humanrightscampaign @trevorproject ??
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