“Empire” showrunner Brett Mahoney is unwavering in his support for show star Jussie Smollett, regardless of what twists and turns an ongoing Chicago PD investigation unearths.
— Brett Mahoney (@TheBrettMahoney) February 18, 2019
It appears that most of the comments on Mahoney’s tweet are not as optimistic regarding Smollett’s account of what occurred on the night he says he was jumped by two men in Chicago.
As it turns out, Smollett knew the men, who are Nigerian brothers, and one was his personal trainer. The men, who were originally persons of interest and then suspects, were released from police custody after telling cops that Smollett paid them to stage the attack, per CNN.
Smollett’s attorneys deny the attack was a hoax.
That “Keep your head up” pep talk is a common refrain from Mahoney. Below is what he tweeted on Jan. 29, which was the day Smollett said the attack took place.
“An attack on my friend and colleague
@JussieSmollett is an attack on everything that is great about America. Keep your head up Jussie. We stand with you. Love will always conquer hate. @EmpireWriters @leedanielsent @EmpireFOX“
An attack on my friend and colleague @JussieSmollett is an attack on everything that is great about America. Keep your head up Jussie. We stand with you. Love will always conquer hate. @EmpireWriters @leedanielsent @EmpireFOX
— Brett Mahoney (@TheBrettMahoney) January 30, 2019
Mahoney is not alone is standing by the actor and singer. Director Ava DuVernay isn’t exactly confident in the abilities or transparency of the Chicago Police Department.
“Despite the inconsistencies, I can’t blindly believe Chicago PD,” DuVernay, who voiced support for Smollett after the attack, said on Twitter. “The department that covered up shooting Laquan McDonald over a dozen times? That operated an off-site torture facility? That one? I’ll wait. Whatever the outcome, this won’t stop me from believing others. It can’t.”
DuVernay was referring to the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014. Initially, Chicago PD reported that McDonald was carrying a folding knife and walking erratically at the time he was shot, and ruled that the shooting was justified. But dash cam footage released a year later showed Van Dyke shooting McDonald while he was walking away, leading to the officer being charged with murder.