Jussie Smollett Scandal Prompts Online Sportbooks to Stage Odds on Actor’s Legal Outcome, Career Future
Posted on: February 22, 2019, 07:31h.
Last updated on: February 22, 2019, 09:01h.
UPDATE: Fox says Smollett will not appear in the final two episodes of “Empire”
Jussie Smollett was released from police custody on Thursday after posting bond and returned to the Empire set in Chicago. Internet sportsbooks such as MyBookie are taking wagers on the outcome of the actor’s legal charges, as well as the future of his career.
Online sportsbooks ask whether Smollett will be convicted of filing a false police report. “No” remains the favorite at -140, or implied odds of 58.33 percent. As news and information continues to flow in regarding Smollett’s alleged hate crime, the line has drastically shortened from -700 earlier this week.
On January 29, Smollett said he was attacked around 2:30 am local time in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood by two white men wearing MAGA hats – “Make America Great Again, President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan – who yelled racist slurs at the actor and tied a noose around his neck. Smollett asserts he fought off the assailants.
Initial reactions from celebrities and politicians expressed support for Smollett. Democratic senators and 2020 presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris (California) and Cory Booker (New Jersey) called the attack a modern-day lynching.
Authorities, however, were skeptical. Upon investigation, police allege that Smollett orchestrated the attack in order to further his career by linking the racism to Trump.
Smollett has been charged with a felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.
Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. told the actor, “As you stand before me we presume you’re innocent, but the state read me a proffer that is outrageous. If true, the noose conjures up the greatest evil in this country.”
Smollett attorneys countered, “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
The president isn’t as willing to wait for a trial. “@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?” Trump tweeted.
The social media comment delivered wins for bettors who took odds on whether the president would indeed tweet about Smollett (Yes -140). For every $100 bet, gamblers netted $71.43 on the outcome.
Smollett returned to filming the hit Fox show just hours after being released from police custody. His future on the series is in jeopardy.
Odds asking if Smollett will be fired from Empire this year are at Yes +140, No -200. That means as of now, bettors feel the actor will remain with the series through the end of 2019. Bettors can also take odds on whether Smollett will enter rehab, Yes being the frontrunner at -140.
Ronn Torossian, a public relations expert who has worked with Snoop Dogg, says Smollett committed career suicide.
“Jussie’s reputation will never be fully restored in the public eye,” Torossian told The Daily Caller. “His career is over.”
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