During a performance Thursday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dave Chappelle told his sold-out audience that he suspected “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett had faked a hate crime attack against himself to stay on the show.
Chappelle then joked that he was so mad he wanted to break a dollhouse over Smollett’s head, referencing a homophobic joke that brought criticism to Kevin Hart, reports NewNowNext’s Jeff Taylor.
Chappelle questioned a number of suspect elements of Smollett’s story, saying he was skeptical from the moment he heard the story, despite wanting to believe him.
He joked that even Scooby-Doo would have questioned the veracity of his story.
Chappelle suggested Smollett wouldn’t be going to Subway late at night, asking, “He doesn’t have people who can do that for him?” He also said it seemed odd to him that someone would be wearing both a ski mask and a “Make America Great Again” hat, as some reporting claimed the two alleged attackers were wearing. Smollett has said that he never claimed the men were wearing MAGA hats.
Chappelle also wondered who would have rope with them in Chicago, and why he waited so long to report the incident to police, as well as why he would keep the noose around his neck. Smollett has said he didn’t want to call police at first, and that he left the rope around his neck because he wanted them to see it when they arrived.
Smollett said one of the men asked him, “Aren’t you that f*ggot Empire n*gger?”
Chappelle said the insult sounded like something he would say and asked how anyone could watch “Empire” if they hated gay people.
He also questioned whether Smollett’s attackers would have shouted, “This is MAGA country!” Chapelle said that’s not “how white, Trump supporting racists talk.”
“They say, ’This is America!’” he said.
Chappelle expressed his anger about how a hoax by Smollett would hurt the credibility of real victims of anti-gay and racist violence.
“Hopefully the gays will take the brunt of this,” he joked.
Chicago police believe “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett hired two men to orchestrate the assault on himself, two police sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN on Saturday.
The brothers, who were arrested Wednesday, were released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.”
In a tweet, police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said, “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charges.”