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Yahoo NewsFeb 21, 2019
Empire star Jussie Smollett charged with staging racist attack in 'desperate publicity stunt'
One of America's leading black television actors has been charged with staging a racist attack on himself in a "despicable publicity stunt" which he hoped would get him a raise on his $65,000-an-episode salary. Jussie Smollett, 36, who stars in "Empire," was accused by police in Chicago of "exploiting the pain and anger of racism" in a "shameful" attempt to boost his own profile. The saga began on Jan 29 when the actor reported that he had been attacked by two white men who put a noose around his neck and yelled "This is MAGA country," a reference to Donald Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again". Following his arrest the US president wrote on Twitter: "Jussie Smollett - what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? MAGA." The actor, who is gay, also claimed his attackers hurled homophobic insults at him during the incident at 2am in downtown Chicago. Police charged him with making a false statement, which could lead to a sentence of up to three years in jail if convicted. A mugshot showed him staring impassively at the camera. This photo released by the Chicago Police Department shows Jussie Smollett Credit: AP In a press conference Eddie Johnson, Chicago's police superintendent, lambasted the star, accusing him of "dragging Chicago through the mud" by "staging a hate crime". Mr Johnson, who is black, said: "Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of
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