Charges have been dropped, but it doesn’t look like this entire Jussie Smollett saga has any plans of slowing down any time soon.
Smollett claimed back in January that he was the victim of a homophobic and racist attack. Disorderly conduct and false police report charges against the 36-year-old stemming from that disputed claim were dropped on Tuesday, sparking a whirlwind among the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Mayor’s Office, and special interest from the commander-in-chief himself.
On Thursday, the wayward candy corn known as America’s president tweeted his plans to get the F.B.I. and Department of Justice involved in the matter.
However, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel believes this is primarily a job for the city. Dismissing the fact Smollett has been cleared of all charges, the mayor is seeking $130,000 owed to the city, still accusing the actor-singer of an alleged hate crime hoax.
“The police are right now finalizing the cost that was used, police resources, to come to the understanding this was a hoax and not a real hate crime,” said Emanuel, according to the Chicago Tribune. “What we spent. The corporation counsel, once they have it finalized and feel good about the numbers, will then send a letter to Jussie Smollett and his attorneys, trying to recoup those costs for the city.”
On the flip side, Smollett’s legal team believes city officials owe their client an apology.
“He, at this point, again has been victimized much more by what’s happened afterwards than what happened that night,” said attorney Tina Glandian on Thursday on The TODAY Show.
Further, Glandian said that based on her client’s recollection of the attackers having white or pale skin, she believes the Osundairo Brothers—who are believed to be the attackers—may have worn whiteface.
“He did tell police that from what he saw, he thought it was white or pale skin, that’s what he initially said,” Glandian said. “Obviously, you can disguise that. You can put makeup on.”
Additionally, it looks like Empire’s production may be affected by this whole fiasco as Illinois may be snatching away some much-coveted tax cuts.
“The General Assembly here in Illinois gives a very robust tax credit to any production company that plans on filming TV shows or movies,” state Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R) said on CNN Thursday, per The Hill, regarding a bill he is introducing to withhold tax credits. “Someone like … Smollett or someone else that would commit the same type of act should not benefit from this generous, robust tax credit that is offered from the city of Chicago residents and the taxpayers of the state of Illinois.”
Amid the mess, Smollett may have a personal career achievement to look forward to, as he is nominated for an NAACP Image Award this weekend, for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Empire).
“I hope he wins,” ceremony host Anthony Anderson told Variety on Wednesday. “I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color. So I’m glad it worked out for him.”
It hasn’t been confirmed whether or not Smollett will attend the ceremony on Saturday, May 30.