In a statement Tuesday 20th Century Fox announced that it was “gratified” that Empire star Jussie Smollett had all 16 felony counts related to making a false police report dropped.
“Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified on his behalf that all charges against him have been dismissed,” 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a statement released after the case was dropped against the actor, according to Fox News.
For his part, Smollett was entirely unapologetic over the incident and insisted he has never lied about the attack that Chicago Police say he staged.
“I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’m accused of. This has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly one of the worst of my entire life,” Smollett said after prosecutors announced the decision. “But I am a man of faith, and I am a man that has knowledge of my history, and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this, I just wouldn’t.”
Smollett claimed in January that he was attacked by two white men, during a below freezing Chicago morning. He also said they wore “red hats” — in an allusion to Donald Trump’sMAGA campaign hat — and that they yelled Donald Trump slogans at him after they beat him up. Smollett further claimed that the white men put a “noose” around his neck.
But a Chicago Police investigation posited that Smollett paid two friends to beat him up and that he falsely reported a hate crime. The CPD accused Smollett of trying to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
Smollett had been cut from the final two episodes of the Empire season, but Empire producers have not said whether Smollett will return next season.
Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police department are furious that Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx decided to drop the case.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.