On Wednesday night, the City of Chicago released two 911 calls from the night Jussie Smollett was allegedly attacked. The calls, which came from a person claiming to be employed by Smollett, claimed that the former Empire actor was “jumped” by some guys, who then put a noose around Smollet’s neck. The caller also complained when police hadn’t shown up promptly to the check on the actor.
As USA Today reports, the caller was reluctant to name Smollett, telling the 911 operator the 36-year-old actor didn’t want to call the police himself.
“I just need the police to come by, I work for an artist. I don’t really want to say his name,” the caller told the dispatcher. “(Smollett) states that … he went to Subway and he was walking by and some guys, they jumped him or something like that. I just want to report it and make sure he’s all right.”
Describing Smollett, the caller said, “He was cool. He didn’t want to call you guys. But I feel he needs to make a report.”
When the 911 dispatcher responded that only the victim could file a police report, the caller responded, “He’s definitely going to make the report. I’m going to make him make the report.”
That first call, placed at 2:22 a.m. on Jan. 29, would set off a media firestorm. In his police report, and in subsequent comments about the attack, Smollett said his attackers called him racist and homophobic slurs as they beat him. At one point, a noose was placed around his neck, the openly gay actor said.
During that initial 911 call, Smollett’s colleague mentioned a noose.
“I just think he’s startled,” the caller said. “I’m scared. I don’t know what it is. They put a noose around his neck. They didn’t do anything with it but put it around his neck. That’s pretty fucked up to me—sorry for saying it like that.”
In a second 911 call made at 2:38 a.m., the caller asked why police hadn’t yet arrived.
After investigating the incident, Chicago Police decided that Smollett had staged the attack; they arrested the actor and charged him with a filing a false police report in February.
But the controversy over the alleged attack hasn’t abated since Cook County prosecutors dropped the charges against Smollett in March. In April, the City of Chicago announced it was suing Smollett over the cost of investigating his claims—about $130,000. The release of the 911 calls comes shortly after both Chicago PD and the Cook County released thousands of pages of documents related to the investigation, which a judge ordered unsealed last week, the Chicago Tribune notes.
On Tuesday, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels confirmed that Smollett would not be returning to the sixth and final season of the show.
According to Variety, racial tensions were palpable on set between “the show’s primarily black cast members, who still believe Smollett is innocent, and the mostly white below-the-line crew, many of whom believe Smollett is guilty.”