The star of "The Empire" Jussie Smollett, accused on Wednesday of staging a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago, has been in the spotlight in recent weeks – but perhaps not for reasons that "we are in trouble." a career actor would prefer.
Mr Smollett, who is black and openly gay, said in January that he had been the victim of an attack during which masked men poured him chemicals and passed him the rope in the the audience, activists and politicians. In a major twist, Mr. Smollett, who is in his mid-thirties, was charged on Wednesday with a charge of disordered driving offense in connection with the episode.
Mr. Smollett is best known for his role as an actor in "Empire," a hip-hop drama about Fox, in which he plays a son vying for the throne of his father's musical empire.
After growing up with five brothers and sisters pursuing a career in theater, modeling and music, Mr. Smollett appeared on the big screen in 1992. He has since played supporting roles in several other movies and TV shows, all starting a career as a R & B singer.
[[[[Here is a timeline of what has happened since Mr. Smollett reported the attack.]
"Empire", which finished its fifth season last year, follows a former drug dealer who became the hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon, whose three sons must fight to manage his multi-million dollar company. dollars. Smollett's character, Jamal Lyon, is a gay singer-songwriter who begins his father's separate series because of his sexuality. Mr. Smollett sings and wrote for the soundtrack of the series.
As a child, Mr. Smollett earned a role in the family comedy film "The Mighty Ducks" on a lawyer who is to coach a youth hockey team after being sentenced to a public interest job. Two years later, Smollett played alongside five of his brothers and sisters in an ABC sitcom titled "On Our Own," about orphaned siblings when their parents died in a car accident.
Mr. Smollett's younger sister, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, has also grown to leave his mark in the world of acting. She is one of the stars of "Underground", a WGN America show about a group of slaves trying to escape from their Georgia plantation. Mr. Smollett is a star of the show.
In 2017, Mr. Smollett appeared in the science fiction thriller "Alien: Covenant". That year, he also played Langston Hughes in the movie "Marshall," a biopic about Thurgood Marshall, the first judge of the African-American Supreme Court.
Mr. Smollett and his brothers and sisters have been outspoken politicians and dedicated to causes such as prevention of HIV / AIDS and racial justice. Mr. Smollett is a board member of four charities, including the Trayvon Martin Foundation and the Black AIDS Institute, according to his website.
Mr. Smollett also has a singing career distinct from "Empire". In March he released an album of 10 R & B songs. A few days later he reported the attack, Mr. Smollett happened in front of a sold-out crowd in West Hollywood, California, telling his fans that he would not let his attackers win and that he "had to be here tonight ".
In January, Mr. Smollett told the police that when he was walking in downtown Chicago he had been confronted by white masked men who had addressed homophobic and racial slurs to him and told him that it was the "MAGA country", referring to the slogan of President Trump's campaign.
While Mr. Smollett had to answer questions as to whether his hate crime report was true, he continued to insist that the incident occur when he reported it. .
In a statement released Wednesday by Fox, before the Chicago police described Mr. Smollett as a suspect in the case, the network said his character was not being traded in. Empire "in response to the police announcement that the investigation would have followed the trajectory of the investigation. changed, contrary to what has been reported by several media. Fox then declined to comment after Mr. Smollett was indicted.
On Wednesday night, following his indictment, his lawyers said in a statement: "Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, especially when there has been an investigation like this one where information, true or false, has been leaked several times. "