To Illinois Rep. Michael McAuliffe, actions apparently speak louder than words — which is why the Chicago Republican said he's firing back at Jussie Smollett's alleged hate crime hoax charges being dropped with legislation of his own.
The lawmaker announced his decision Tuesday to file a bill that would prohibit any TV or film production that employs the "Empire" actor from receiving state tax film credits. Earlier that day, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said it was granting Smollett nolle pros, essentially dropping the case.
“A lot of valuable Chicago Police Department (CPD) man-hours and resources were wasted chasing down a bogus crime arranged by Smollett,” McAuliffe said in an online statement Tuesday. “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.”
McAuliffe blasted the actor for causing a "media frenzy" over the past two months and claimed the Chicago Police Department was "forced" to dedicate resources to investigate Smollett's allegations that two men beat him up on a cold January night. The city of Chicago delivered a letter to Jussie Smollett's legal team Thursday seeking $130,000 from the actor, a spokesperson for the city law department told Fox News, while Smollett's lawyers argued Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson "owe him an apology."
"[Those resources] could have been better spent addressing gun violence and other, very real public safety threats," a statement from McAuliffe's office read.
“Where the City of Chicago is concerned, Jussie Smollett is far from exonerated."
The representative noted Chicago's growing influence on the film and TV industry, explaining that the city offers tax breaks — a 30 percent film tax credit, plus a 15 percent bonus that's "available on labor expenditures in high-poverty areas" — to encourage growth in this field. The Fox drama "Empire," which Smollett stars in, currently films in Chicago.
To combat what he considers injustice from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office regarding the Smollett ruling, McAuliffe said he would introduce legislation that would require any production company that employ's the 36-year-old actor to "forfeit" that state film tax credit or any other incentives offered by the Illinois Department of Revenue or the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
“Where the City of Chicago is concerned, Jussie Smollett is far from exonerated,” McAullife said. “While the State’s Attorney has chosen not to pursue justice in this case, we need to send a message that Smollett’s actions are not a reflection of the values we have in Chicago and won’t be tolerated. His accusations and lies caused a lot of pain to all Chicagoans.”
On Thursday, while explaining his new bill to CNN, McAuliffe said Smollett "made Chicago the laughing stock of the nation."
“The General Assembly here in Illinois gives a very robust tax credit to any production company that plans on filming TV shows or movies,” McAuliffe told the news network. "And I feel someone like ... Smollett or someone else that would commit the same type of act should not benefit from this generous, robust tax credit that is offered from the city of Chicago residents and the taxpayers of the state of Illinois."
Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts in connection to his Chicago attack allegations in early March. He pleaded not guilty and was cleared of all charges by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office on Tuesday. Evidence in the case is also expected to remain sealed.
The "Empire" star has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation and said Tuesday he was ready "to just get back to work and move on" with his life.
In late February, "Empire" show executives revealed that Smollett's character had been cut from the final two episodes of Season 5 amid the open investigation. His future on the series still remains unclear. However, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment sent a message in support of the actor Tuesday.
"Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified on his behalf that all charges against him have been dismissed,” the statement read.
McAuliffe did not immediately return Fox News' request for further comment on the legislation Friday morning.
Fox News' Sasha Savitsky contributed to this report.