Fox Releases Statement on 'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett's Arrest

Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television made a statement Thursday afternoon concerning Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who was arrested in Chicago earlier this morning and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

"We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options," the statement read.

Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report Wednesday evening, and turned himself into authorities Thursday around 6 a.m. ET.

Later Thursday morning, police released a mugshot of the 36-year-old, in which he wears a black coat and looks straight ahead at the camera.

Smollett is scheduled to appear in a bail hearing in a Cook County courthouse at 1:30 p.m. local time.

In January, Smollett claimed that he had been assaulted by two men who beat him and left him with a noose around his neck after yelling racist and homophobic slurs, as well as throwing an unknown substance on him.

After police identified and questioned brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo as people of interest, the two men claimed that Smollett paid them to stage an attack against him.

Speculation that the assault was a hoax began weeks ago, with Smollett aggressively denying that he was involved in orchestrating the incident, and he continues to maintain his innocence.

"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying," a previous statement from Smollett's lawyer read.

Chicago police said during a press conference on Thursday that they believed Smollett's motive for allegedly faking the assault was due to him being unhappy with his salary on Empire, and that he orchestrated a "phony attack" in order to take "advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."

"When we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said during the press conference.


Johnson also said that "absolute justice" would be an apology to Chicago. "Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared, admitting what he did and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of resources put into this," Johnson said, pointing out the man-hours police poured into the case.

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