Jussie Smollett is sticking to his guns as the drama surrounding his alleged fake crime intensifies.
The ‘Empire’ star pleaded not guilty to accusations that he lied to police about being a victim of a racist and homophobic attack in downtown Chicago just a few weeks ago.
The plea was entered Thursday by his lawyer Tina Glandian.
This comes on the heels of Smollett being charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct.
Judge Steven Watkins, the judge overseeing the case, granted Smollett’s request to travel to New York and California on the condition that he gives the court a 48 hours’ notice.
His next hearing is scheduled for April 17.
Smollett went from victim to suspect after his story that men wearing MAGA hats attacked him, poured a bleachy substance on him and tied a noose around his neck while shouting racists and homophobic slurs.
Two suspects were arrested but almost immediately it was revealed that Smollett met the Nigerian brothers on the set of ‘Empire’ and paid them to attack him.
Prosecutors believe that Smollett’s allegations have no merit and that staged the incident because he was upset with his salary and wanted to drum up publicity to boost his career.
Meanwhile, Smollett’s legal team remains clear that the actor only paid them to train him.
They’ve been working overtime hoping the judge will allow cameras in the courtroom so that the public will see the evidence and form their own opinion.
Considering the severity of the allegations and the interest in this case, it’s unclear if their ask will be honored.
For what it’s worth, Smollett has been attending all court hearings.
Many of the actors on the hit series believe Smollett’s legal troubles are bad news for the series. And they may be onto something.
FOX has yet to renew the series for its sixth season despite usually giving the renew or cancel ruling in early January.
Ratings for Wednesday night’s episode also took a hit clocking in down 12 percent from its winter finale and marking the second-lowest numbers ever.
Serayah told US Weekly that the cast and crew were shocked and a little shaken up, but they’ve remained professional because they have a “job to do” and a season to finish up.
Most of Smollett’s cast members have been mum on his legal situation though there have been rumors that there is animosity on set.
What do you about the latest developments? Is Smollett telling the truth? Or is he guilty?
Chess Boards Are Sold Out and You Can Thank Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’
Queen’s Gambit is taking the chess world by storm.
In a case of art influences life, sales of chess boards have skyrocketed thanks to the Netflix limited series.
The series, set in the 1950s, trails the rise of a young orphan, Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), who finds chess to be an outlet, leading her to become a female prodigy.
Spin Master, a Toronto-based toy merchant, said that chess sales have increased by “triple digits” since the show’s premiere on October 23.
Goliath Games has also noted a surge of more than 1,000 percent, NPR notes.
“Our October sales for chess were up 178% over the same period last year,” Mary Higbe, director of marketing at Goliath Games, said. “That’s a big increase. But something else unexpected happened at the end of the month. Now, she says, “our chess sales are up 1,048%.”
EBay has made similar findings, reporting a 215 percent spike in sales of chess sets.
The New York Times found that wooden sets have trumped plastic sets.
Even before the series debuted, interest in chess sets was spiking due to COVID.
Will this make finding a Christmas present harder?
Toy analyst Gerrick Johnnson told NPR: “Good luck finding a chess set this holiday!”
The popularity also extends to groups such as the US Chess Federation, which revealed that membership also jumped for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.
You Can Get Free Streaming Subscriptions in December Thanks to Beautyrest
The one thing that has been keeping us all sane through what feels like a never-ending pandemic? TV shows!
Especially now as the winter months creep in and it becomes darker earlier than every, we’re turning to streaming services to find some comfort.
If you’re a TV show lover, like myself, you’re probably subscribed to several services because you watch an array of shows and the costs ADD UP!
Well, how would you like it if all of those streaming services were free in December? That means all the Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more for free!
Beautyrest, the ultimate brand in luxury mattresses, wants to cover streaming subscriptions during the month for 100 lucky people. 10 of those lucky people will even snag a Beautyrest mattress so that they can catch some R&R this winter (while watching shows, of course).
How can you enter the contest?
Now through December 5, send an email to BeautyrestUpgrade@icfnext.com with one sentence on why you deserve an upgrade for a chance to win.
Beautyrest will choose 100 winners through a random drawing on or around Monday, Dec. 7. If you’re a winner, you’ll be notified via email. You’ll need to reply within 48 hours to the email, so make sure you check your inbox!
Visit Beautyrest.com/FirstClassUpgrade for full rules and additional information on how you can score the ultimate binge-watching experience in bed.
‘Freddy Krueger’ Actor Robert Englund is Coming to ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4
We already know Stranger Things Season 4 is going to be the scariest to date — that’s what Joe Keery (Steve Harrington told us months back!), but this takes the scare-factor to a whole new level.
Why? Because Freddy Krueger is headed to Hawkins to haunt your nightmares!
Horror icon Robert Englund is joining the Netflix series in a recurring role, according to TV Line. He’ll be playing a convicted murderer. He will play Victor Creel, “a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital for a gruesome murder in the 1950s.”
Englund isn’t the only new face that we’ll be seeing. The series, which is filming in Georgia after a long COVID-19 production delay, is adding seven new series regulars.
Here’s the breakdown of each character.
Jamie Campbell Bower of Twilight joins as Peter Ballard, a caring man working at the psychiatric hospital who is tired of all the brutality he witnesses.
Eduardo Franco from American Vandal is Jonathan’s new bestie, a stoner and pizza delivery driver.
Joseph Quinn from Howard’s End is Eddie Munson, an 80’s metalhead who runs The Hellfire Club, Hawkins High’s official D&D club. Obviously, this means he’ll find himself right in the middle of the mystery.
Sherman Augustus from Into the Badlands is Lt. Colonel Sullivan, a man who believes he can stop the evil in Hawkins once and for all.
Mason Dye from Bosch is a handsome and rich sports star dating the most popular girl in school. But the evil brewing in town begins to unravel his perfect life.
Nikola Djuricko from Legends is Yuri, a Russian smuggler.
Tom Wlaschiha from Game of Thrones is a Dmitri, a Russian prison guard who befriends our favorite Sheriff.
While the cast sounds promising, let’s hope this doesn’t mean less screen time for our faves like Eleven, Will, and Hopper (who yes, is alive, but not well somewhere in Russia).
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