Fox is weighing its options following the arrest of “Empire” star Jussie Smollett on Thursday morning.
“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process,” 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a joint statement. “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”
Smollett surrendered to authorities and was arrested early Thursday morning in Chicago. He is charged with filing a false police report and disorderly conduct. The actor and musician claimed that he was the victim of an assault in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 in Chicago, stating two men hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, beat him, poured bleach on him, and placed a rope around his neck. Smollett also said that the two men used the phrase “MAGA country” during the assault, a reference to President Donald Trump and his “Make America Great Again” slogan.
However, investigators now believe Smollett paid two acquaintances–brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo–to help him stage the attack. Police previously arrested the brothers but they were later released without being charged. They are now believed to be cooperating with the investigation.
During a press conference on Thursday morning, the Chicago PD stated they believed Smollett staged the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on “Empire.” They also said that Smollett had sent a threatening letter to himself that was received at Fox days before the attack.
Smollett and his representatives have repeatedly denied that he staged the attack.
As Variety reported on Tuesday, Smollett could face jail time for the charges against him, with falsifying a police report being a Class 4 felony in Illinois.