Smollett is facing criminal charges for allegedly filing a false police report and disorderly conduct. During a press conference Thursday morning after his arrest, Chicago police officials said Smollett set up a hate crime hoax because he was “dissatisfied” with his salary on the Fox series “Empire.”
The charges stem from a report Smollett filed on Jan. 29. He claimed he was attacked by two men who beat him, tied a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him. He also attested that attackers shouted racist and homophobic slurs, as well as “MAGA,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again.”
Two brothers, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, were taken into custody on Feb. 13. After days of questioning, they confessed to being paid by Smollett to orchestrate the assault.
A bail hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Smollett could face one to three years in prison if he is found guilty of filing a false police report.
Smollett’s status on the show “Empire” is currently unknown. Fox had adamantly defended Smollett prior to Thursday’s events. Now, the network is considering suspending Smollett from the show, which is currently in production for its fifth season.
“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options,” 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment said in a joint statement Thursday.