It's been almost three weeks since Empire actor Jussie Smollet made headlines after he was hospitalised following an alleged hate crime attack. But now police have arrested the actor for staging the attack. Smollett's bond was set at $141,220 AUD in his first court appearance.
The charge relates to Smollett telling authorities he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two men who taunted him with racist and anti-gay slurs, looped a rope around his neck and doused him in a substance believed to be bleach. The judge also stripped the star of his passport and he must post $14,120 AUD to be released.
Police have alleged the actor staged a bias attack on himself as a publicity stunt to boost his salary on Fox's Empire, and allege to have at least one piece of evidence connecting him to the incident.
“Mr. Smollett is the one that orchestrated this crime,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a press conference Thursday where authorities described how they came to discredit Smollett’s claims, leading to a felony charge against him for allegedly filing a false police report.
RELATED: The Claims Jussie Smollett Staged His Attack, Explained
Smollett continues to deny his involvement in the attack. “These are outrageous allegations”, one of Smollett's attorney's Jack Prior told the judge, per People.
“First, Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter [to himself] that relied on racial, homophobic and political language,” Johnson said of the actor and singer, who is gay and black. “When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago’s reputation through the mud in the process.”
"Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to advance his career," he added. “I’m left hanging my head and asking why,” he said. “Why would anyone, especially an African American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hate and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?”
WATCH: 'Empire' Actor Jussie Smollett Charged Over 'Fake' Hate Crime Attack.