Fox Nation to investigate Jussie Smollett

New five-part series examines case that riveted nation

The biggest scandal in Chicago on a national scale since Leopold and Loeb is getting the Fox Nation treatment.

Fox Nation released on Monday a new five-part docuseries centered on the Jussie Smollett saga that griped the city throughout 2019. Titled Jussie Smollett: Anatomy Of A Hoax, the docuseries takes a look at the hate-crime case surrounding the former Empire star, and how he allegedly planned the whole thing. The show features interviews with brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who claim they were hired by Smollett to carry out the crime. 

Fox Nation is a subscription-on-video-demand service, or a SVOD, as it touts its “shows, documentaries, and movies that celebrate America”. 

On a very cold night in January 2019, Smollett claimed he was attacked by right-wing MAGA supporters. However, his story quickly fell apart and was arrested for a hate crime hoax. Despite charges being dropped by the Cook County’s State Attorney’s office – and while maintaining his innocence, Smollett was found guilty on five felony counts and sentenced to 150 days in prison but is currently free while awaiting an appeal, which could take years.  

“Anatomy of a Hoax takes a deep dive into a scam that reverberated through the worlds of entertainment, pop culture and politics,” Fox Nation executive VP John Finley said in a statement. “We’re excited for viewers to hear the real stories behind this scandal from the Osundairo brothers for the very first time.”

According to Fox Nation: “On the eve of Smollett’s appeal, Jussie Smollett: Anatomy of a Hoax will chronicle the behind the scenes maneuvering and drama that turned the star into a pariah and sent shockwaves through Chicago and beyond, leaving a trail of damaged careers and reputations. The Osundairo brothers will unravel the details from the planning of the fake crime, its execution and all that ensued in the aftermath.”

The Smollett case made national headlines and once again put Chicago in an unflattering spotlight, already in the news for its never-ending crime epidemic thanks in part to former President Trump and other Republicans dating back to the Obama administration. The case also divided the city among racial lines (like everything else) amid relentless local and national media coverage. As for Smollett, he was written out of the Empire cast the following season as his saga didn’t help the show’s ratings as they were in freefall by this time. The producers cut their losses for the show and ended Empire in early 2020, albeit prematurely as the dawn of the pandemic forced production to shut down. 

Empire was filmed in and around Chicago and at Cinespace Studios on the West Side. 

The doscuseries drops at an interesting time for Fox News as its news division is under fire for amplifying lies about the 2020 election as they are being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for false statements. Depositions released show numerous Fox execs, anchors, and hosts admitting and knowing Trump lost the election against Joe Biden, yet made those false statements anyway.

Meanwhile, Fox News is also under fire for its January 6 coverage and working with Republican operatives in creating a narrative the riots taking place this day were nothing more than some kind of “tourist trip”. Recently, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy sent more than 10,000 hours worth of Capitol Hill footage from the insurrection to primetime host Tucker Carlson.

Of note, not a single Chicago media outlet mentioned the Smollett documentary (not even on its Fox-owned station here), as the public has moved on. Fox investigating the Smollett hoax while its news operation is under investigation itself for false claims regarding the last Presidential election and currently in legal trouble is quite funny as you wonder if anyone should take this Fox Nation show seriously. Any viewer investing six bucks to watch this only to find no new ground being broken is likely to come away disappointed – and ripped off. 


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