- Nancy Pelosi has deleted a tweet rallying behind Jussie Smollett, after reports suggested the attack may have been staged.
- Smollett told Chicago Police he was the victim of an assault on January 29. He said men wrapped rope around his neck and yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him.
- Pelosi tweeted about it the same day, to condemn the “racist, homophobic” attack on the “Empire” actor. The tweet has since been deleted.
- Chicago Police investigators now think Smollett may have orchestrated the attack himself, a police source told CNN.
- Smollett’s attorneys have forcefully denied that he had anything to do with the attack.
Nancy Pelosi has deleted a tweet condemning a “racist, homophobic” attack on Jussie Smollett, as police reportedly investigate whether the “Empire” actor staged it.
The now-deleted tweet on January 29 from the House Speaker read: “The racist, homophobic attack on @JussieSmollett is an affront to our humanity. No one should be attacked for who they are or whom they love.
“I pray that Jussie has a speedy recovery & that justice is served. May we all committ to ending this hate once & for all.”
Smollett reported he had been the victim of a “possible racially charged assault and battery” on January 29, Chicago Police said. He received widespread support after talking about what he said happened.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement that Smollett said he was called “‘Empire f—-t” and “Empire n—-r.”
Smollett also told police the men warned him: “This is MAGA country.”
Last week Chicago Police denied reports they were about to charge Smollett with making a false report.
And on Sunday speculation that the attack was staged mounted further when Chicago Police sources told CNN that investigators think the actor hired men to attack him.
Chicago Police had taken two brothers into custody as suspects in connection with the attack, but they were both released without charge on Friday, ABC reported.
Smollett’s attorneys said one of the brothers was his personal trainer, according to ABC. The network said the two men reportedly cooperated with police when they procured evidence that the brothers had bought the rope used in the attack.
Smollett’s attorneys Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson published a statement on Sunday denying that he staged the attack.
“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,” it said.
Smollett is gay, and also plays the gay character of Jamal on the Fox TV show.
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Speaker Pelosi, told Business Insider:
“As the Speaker who passed the fully inclusive Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, we spoke out because this appeared to be a deeply troubling incident of violence motivated against vulnerable communities.”
“Given the turn in the investigation, we decided to no longer amplify the original accusation. Following the conclusion of the ongoing investigation, we will comment further. We should all be united in fighting racism and homophobia.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.