Jussie Smollett, the television actor who claimed to have been the victim of a racist homophobic assault, has been arrested and charged with a felony over allegedly giving a false report.
Last month, Smollett claimed that two men assaulted him, shouting racist and homophobic slurs at one of the stars of the hit Fox TV show “Empire.”
However, Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, released a statement on Thursday morning explaining that Smollett was being arrested and charged with making a false report.
“Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report. Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest,” tweeted Guglielmi.
He later confirmed that Smollett was under arrest and in the custody of police detectives, with more details pending.
In late January, Smollett claimed that a pair of assailants had attacked him, pouring a "chemical substance" of some kind on him while putting a noose around his neck.
Early reports said that the alleged attackers had shouted homophobic and racist slurs at the openly gay, African-American actor, with some claiming that the two assailants were white and also shouting “this is MAGA country.”
In one interview, Smollett suggested that the attack might have come because of his criticism of the Trump administration.
"I can just assume," he said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "I come really, really hard against 45. I come really hard against his administration, and I don't hold my tongue."
Evangelical Christian leaders, among them National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, condemned the attack.
“Unacceptable! We are all created in God’s image,” stated Rodriguez, who also serves on President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board.
“All vestiges of hatred must be confronted and as Christians, we must lead the way. Let us push back the darkness of hatred and intolerance with the light of hope and love, in Jesus name.”
Worship leader Israel Houghton responded to the incident with an Instagram post directed toward the church, calling on Christians to pray for “Justice” and “America.”
“Speak out against the power that gives voice to polarizing hate & prejudice. It’s the Church’s most powerful moment in time if we’ll be courageous to do the right thing with it. Love God. Love People,” Houghton added.
Last week, police raided the place of two men who were persons of interest in the alleged attack, finding out that they were of Nigerian descent and were extras on the “Empire” show.
Soon, many were becoming skeptical of Smollett’s account, with some floating the idea that the actor made up the story, possibly to keep his character from being written off of “Empire,” a rumor Fox denied.
“Police called [the scene of the attack] a ‘very high density’ area for surveillance cameras, but they still have found no evidence that any assault took place. There are no witnesses and nothing like the assault described appears on any of the videos,” noted one National Review column published in January.
“Instead of calling the police immediately on the phone, Smollett walked into an apartment building and past security, without informing anyone about the alleged assault, and he kept the rope around his neck for some three-quarters of an hour. He neglected to tell the police about the MAGA remark in this first interview, revealing it only later in a subsequent interview.”