The bizarre Jussie Smollett controversy has taken another surprising turn. According to CNN, all charges against the Empire star, who was accused of staging a hate crime against himself earlier this year, have now been dropped.
In case you somehow missed the giant clusterfuck of a situation, let’s recap: On January 29 Smollett claimed two men wearing MAGA hats shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him, poured bleached on him, and tied a noose around his neck. Then the Chicago police department’s investigation accused the actor of fabricating the alleged assault against himself. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, then later indicted on 16 new felony charges by the Chicago grand jury. The Chicago police claimed the actor had previously known and hired the two men accused of attacking him because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox series. And then Smollett was cut from the last two episodes of Empire’s current season. Like we said, it’s been messy.
Smollett has maintained his innocence throughout this whole saga, both in an emotional Good Morning America interview and again when entering a not guilty plea earlier this month. On Tuesday morning he returned to court for an “emergency appearance” where all the charges against him were dismissed and his record was wiped clean.
Smollett’s lawyers maintain that the actor wasn’t involved in his attack, claiming in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that Smollett is “a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment.” The statement added that the entire situation is a “reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result. Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.”