People are criticising Jussie Smollett following reports that he may have staged his alleged attack

Photo by Tasia Wells/Getty Images for EspolÃnJussie Smollett attends Espolòn Celebrates Day of the Dead at Academy Nightclub on November 1, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
  • CNN reports that investigators believeEmpire” star Jussie Smollett may have paid two men to stage his alleged attack.
  • Smollett’s attorneys deny the reports, though several people have already reacted to the latest development on Twitter.
  • Prominent Republican figures such as Donald Trump Jr. and Laura Ingraham have criticised the media’s reporting of the alleged attack.
  • Others such as CNN correspondent Victor Blackwell and Attorney Michael Avenatti have expressed concern over what this will mean for victims of real hate crimes if the attack was actually orchestrated.
  • Detectives are still investigating the case.

The investigation into the alleged attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett has taken a turn now after CNN reported that investigators believe Smollett may have paid two men to stage his attack, which he has been framing as a hate crime.

Chicago police released the two Nigerian brothers late Friday evening after finding new evidence to investigate after questioning them. TMZ reports the brothers in question are Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who both reportedly worked on the set of “Empire.”

Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, have denied the reports that Smollett orchestrated the attack, which he says involved the attackers putting a noose around his neck, chanting Trump slogans, pouring bleach on him, and using racist and homophobic slurs.

Now, several prominent figures have reacted to the latest developments on Twitter. The news has especially caused ripples among high-profile conservative leaders, as the initial reports claimed the alleged attackers were Trump supporters who yelled “This is MAGA country” during the attack.

Read more: ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett was reportedly attacked by men yelling racist and homophobic slurs in possible hate crime

President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., has tweeted about the media’s initial response to the story, claiming that several news outlets “accepted his lies as facts for weeks.”

Trump Jr. also said the initial reports that the alleged attackers were Trump supporters were left out in this latest development. A scan of the article shows that it does include references to “MAGA” and Trump.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted that she believed the story was fake all along and echoed some of Trump Jr.’s thoughts regarding the media’s reporting of the investigation.

Actor James Woods reacted to the news by speculating that Democrats would attempt to cover up the latest developments, and criticised the initial responses of support from Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, and Nancy Pelosi.

Some left-leaning personalities have also criticised Smollett, saying that if the CNN report is true, it would hurt the perception of real hate crimes.

CNN correspondent Victor Blackwell expressed concern that if the alleged attack was actually orchestrated, it could harm the victims of real hate crimes.

Attorney Michael Avenatti initially Tweeted a message of support for Smollett once the story broke, but now believes he and many others “owe apologies related to this bogus fiasco.”

The investigation is still ongoing, as Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed on Twitter that the two men who were initially suspects were released on Friday without charge and that there is “additional investigative work to complete.”

Read more: Chicago police release the 2 men questioned in the Jussie Smollett case

Here is the full text of Smollett’s attorney’s statement:

“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.

“One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.”

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