Illinois lawmaker will introduce bill punishing film productions that hire actor Jussie Smollett

The anger in Illinois government circles is palpable. State Rep. Michael McAuliffe, a Republican from Chicago, intends to introduce a bill that will strip Illinois Film Tax Credits from any production that includes actor Jussie Smollett.

Chicago authorities, in particular, are seething after the Illinois state attorney’s office for Cook County suddenly dropped all felony charges in the high-profile Smollett hate-crime-hoax case. The Chicago Police Department and the Mayor’s office are completely puzzled and frustrated by the development, indicating in a variety of ways that it reflects very poorly on the city and on the state.

In his statement, Rep. McAuliffe said, “A lot of valuable Chicago Police Department (CPD) man-hours and resources were wasted chasing down a bogus crime arranged by Smollett.

Hate crimes are serious and so is the time and effort of the CPD. He has cost Chicago a lot more than a $10,000 bond. Smollett should not be able to get anything more from the City of Chicago or Illinois.”

With Smollett’s acquittal on 16 felony charges, Rep. McAuliffe vows that he will do what he can to make sure Smollett does not walk away without some punishment.

According to McAuliffe, Illinois offers a 30% film tax credit to production companies and an additional 15% on labor expenses in high-poverty areas.

Under his bill, McAuliffe stipulates that any film or TV production that employs Smollett will forfeit that credit or any other credits available from the Illinois Department of Revenue or the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, nine television shows are currently shooting in Chicago.

The Republican, who has served as an Illinois Representative for 22 years, will introduce the bill this week.

On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped all the charges against Smollett related to his widely publicized, alleged self-scripted “racially motivated” attack that featured two of his friends wearing MAGA hats as the supposed aggressors.

Smollett triumphantly addressed reporters after the Tuesday hearing and maintained his innocence, saying, “I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of.”

Attorneys for the “Empire” TV star released a statement saying: “Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment.”

The Cook County State’s Attorney released a statement stating, “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”

It remains to be seen if Smollett is done costing Illinois taxpayers. His attorney has said that they are weighing their options for a lawsuit against the city of Chicago and the CPD.

 

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