January 22 marked the beginning of a series of bizarre and emotional events that have left members of the public feeling outrage, sadness, confusion, betrayal, and more outrage surrounding the allegations of racist and homophobic conduct and Empire star, Jussie Smollett. As Los Angeles workplace discrimination attorneys know, people in our country face different types of discrimination including gender, gender identity, racial, religious, sexual orientation, and disability discrimination every single day. When people across the country heard Jussie Smollett’s story, their hearts went out to him, especially people who know what it feels like to experience hate and discrimination.
On January 22, it was reported that Empire star, Jussie Smollett received a racist and homophobic letter at work where he is employed by 20th Century Fox. Fox offered the star extra security and things were relatively quiet from there until January 29 when Smollett told Chicago police that he was attacked by two men in downtown Chicago. He reported that the men used racial and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck, and poured an unknown substance on him. He said the attackers yelled that he was in ‘MAGA country.’
People across the country expressed outrage and sadness for Smollett. Politicians and celebrities publicly addressed the situation offering support for Smollett and denouncing the racist, homophobic attackers. Even President Trump, whose Make America Great Again slogan was reportedly referenced by the attackers, issued a statement condemning the attack.
The police launched an investigation finding videos of Smollett and two unrecognizable men, separately, but in the same vicinity near the time of the attack. They did not find any footage of the actual attack. On February 1 and 2, Smollett spoke out publicly thanking people for their support and giving a sold-out concert in West Hollywood.
On February 11, Smollett provided redacted phone records to the police that the police called insufficiently. On February 14, he appears on Good Morning America and says that any speculation that the attack was staged is racist and hateful. He also identifies the two men on video footage obtained by police as the men who attacked him. Several hours later, police interviewed two brothers and identified them as the men in the video. 48 hours later the police released the two men and issued a statement that the investigation had shifted after speaking with the brothers.
On February 16, Smollett hired a criminal defense attorney who said Smollett felt victimized by reports that the attack was a hoax. On February 20, Smollett was named as a suspect and then is criminally charged with filing a false police report and he turned himself in for arrest on February 21, after which, he bonded out.
While this case of racism and homophobia may not be legitimate, our Los Angeles workplace discrimination attorneys know that racial and sexual orientation discrimination does happen and when it happens in the workplace, employees suffer harm as a result. If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace, contact an employment lawyer at the The Rager Law Firm to schedule a consultation.
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