Empire Actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty of lying to police when he said he was the victim of a hate crime at a time of extraordinary political tensions. What about the interview he did? Well, maybe he was just... acting?
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Former 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty of lying about being the victim of a hate crime in 2019, a jury concluded on Thursday.
Remember: Back in 2019, Smollett claimed he was attacked by two white men at about 2am while on his way to Subway in Chicago. Smollett - who is Black and gay - alleged the men made reference to it being a "MAGA" country, a reference to a Trump supporter at the height of political tensions. Smollett also claimed the men placed a noose around his neck.
Reaction to the alleged attack: In the immediate aftermath, Smollett received widespread support. For example, Kamala Harris described it as "an attempted modern day lynching".
Then what happened? Within a matter of weeks, Chicago police held a press conference and made the extraordinary claims Smollett lied about the alleged hate crime to benefit career-wise from the sympathy. It turned out the two 'attackers' were a pair of Nigerian brothers who received $3,500 from the actor. Smollett said the money was for a workout plan, and admitted in court to having had a sexual relationship with one of the brothers.
What now? A date for sentencing is yet to be made. Most media are speculating that because of Smollett's lack of previous convictions he will probably get probation. There are reports he intends to appeal.
Below is a video from 2019 before police made the stunning claim it was all a hoax. In light of Thursday's conviction it makes for a truly fascinating watch.
A baby girl for Boris.
What a week it has been at No 10, Downing Street. On Thursday morning it was announced the prime minister's wife had given birth to the couple's second child, a baby girl. A name has not yet been revealed.
Prime Minister Johnson is now widely believed to have seven children. According to The Times, he has four adult children with his ex-wife, Marina Wheeler. The Times also reported he has a 12-year-old daughter, Stephanie from an extramarital affair with an art dealer.
What else is going on in Downing Street? Well, a lot.
- Both Dominic Raab and Michael Gove are isolating after coming in contact with Australia's deputy prime minister who later tested positive
- The Conservative Party was fined almost £18,000 for their failure to properly declare a donation that went towards the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat
- The PM's press chief is under fire, after reportedly making a speech and handing out awards at the Christmas party last year
A German court has ruled a man who fell and broke his back while walking metres from his bed was the victim of a workplace accident, as he was working from home.
According to this fascinating article, a court ruled the first walk to a home office in the morning was considered a work commute, but any walking around the house after that was not.
Also, Nicaragua has cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, in an effort to realign with Beijing.
According to The Financial Times, this means Taiwan has only 14 nations as diplomatic allies and represents "China’s escalating campaign to isolate the country".
Ever wanted to know more about this? Click on the photo below for our full explainer.
- In Ireland, six cases of the Omicron variant have now been detected. Meanwhile, anyone arriving into Ireland from Britain is being advised to take a daily antigen test for five consecutive days upon arrival.
This weekend's #DeepDive piece is about abortion in the US. Ahead of us publishing it, we asked you all a couple of questions. Of those who answered...
- 95% said they aligned with the pro-choice side of the debate
- 67% said they know someone personally who has had an abortion
- 83% said a politician's stance on abortion would impact whether or not they voted for them
Keep an eye out for the piece this weekend!
Also, yesterday we mentioned New Zealand's plans to introduce a ban on smoking for young people. 71% of those who answered said they were in favour of the ban, while 29% said they prefer people to have the choice.
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- BBC News: Actor Jussie Smollett guilty of lying about attack
- The Guardian: 'I thought I was going to die': Otters attack British man in Singapore park
- The Financial Times: Evergrande rated 'restricted default' by Fitch after missed payment
- Al Jazeera: Nicaragua cuts diplomatic ties with Taiwan to align with Beijing
- The Irish Times: Brianna Parkins: Every three months or so I'm reminded I'm not quite Irish enough
An Irish Times poll found popularity for Sinn Féin in the Republic of Ireland is at a record high.
Worth noting: While a majority (57%) of those asked felt the coalition government had done a good job in their handling of coronavirus, that number was at 74% as recently as October.
For anyone who does have a subscription to The Irish Times, the article is well worth a read.
American gymnast Simone Biles was trending after TIME Magazine named her athlete of the year for the conversation she sparked about mental health.
Remember: As Axios pointed out, Biles is "widely considered the greatest gymnast of all time". During the Tokyo Olympics in July, Biles was a favourite. However, she pulled out of five events, saying she had to prioritise her mental health.
“What Simone did changed the way we view our well-being, 100%. It showed us that we are more than the sport, that we are human beings who also can have days that are hard. It really humanised us.” - Fellow American gymnast, Sunisa Lee
20 years since the premiere of the first Lord of the Rings movie, ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. Did you know: Orlando Bloom landed the role of Legolas two days before he finished drama school?
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
Me. Every morning.