Jussie Smollett's 'Empire' Role Cut Back Amid Increasing Skepticism About Alleged Attack
The actor staunchly denies reports that he staged an attack on himself last month.
Jussie Smollett’s role on “Empire” will be cut back as the Chicago police department investigates the actor’s claims he was attacked, according to reports.
Smollett, 36, was scheduled to appear in nine scenes and a musical number in upcoming episodes of the Fox drama, TMZ reported. But five scenes and the performance have allegedly been cut from production, according to TMZ.
Questions have also been raised about the threatening letter Smollett said he received a week before he was allegedly attacked in Chicago.
“Smollett, Jussie, You will die, black f***,” read the letter, which appeared to be put together with letters cut out from magazines.
“MAGA” was written in place of a return address on the envelope, photos of the mail showed.
It also contained a white powder that authorities determined to be crushed Tylenol.
Former FBI criminal profile James Clemente pointed out the note resembled a ransom letter that appeared in a recent episode of HBO’s “True Detective.”
“It is very coincidental that a major television show, ‘True Detective,’ just used exactly that type of letter, with the cut out letters,” Clemente told Inside Edition. “It's something that is really Hollywood-orientated and we don't see that in the real world these days.”
When police raided the home of Abel and Ola Osundairo, the two brothers investigators said told them they were paid by Smollett to stage the attack, they took away a magazine and stamps. The person or persons who sent the letter could face federal prosecution.
Police said the brothers told them Smollett orchestrated the attack he claimed occurred in Chicago because he was upset the letter did not get enough attention.
Smollett is "angered and devastated" by the allegations he paid two men to stage an attack on him, his attorneys said.
"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,” his attorneys Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson said in a statement.
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