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Jussie Smollett Unwelcome for Some at 'Empire' ... Several Cast Members Want Him Axed

2/22/2019 1:00 AM PST

Jussie Smollett betrayed the trust of his "Empire" coworkers and damaged the show's image, and now several cast members want him written off immediately ... according to our sources.

We're told many of the "Empire" actors are "f**king furious" and feel if FOX honchos don't fire Jussie, he should quit on his own ... because he doesn't deserve a spot on the hit show.

The feelings of animosity stem from the fact everyone on set had Jussie's back after the "attack," but in light of the new evidence police have laid out ... many of them feel hurt and embarrassed.

We're told almost everyone on set is worried about how Smollett's damaged the show's reputation ... and could continue to do so if he remains part of the cast.

Now, our sources say there are still some cast and crew members who believe Jussie's telling the truth because they can't fathom him pulling off a hoax like this. We're told arguments have erupted over how best to handle the situation.

It seems Smollett is well aware of the dissension on set. TMZ broke the story ... Jussie showed up on set Thursday after the madness outside the court and apologized to everyone, but insisted he's innocent.

We're told he's changed his number because certain pissed off cast members were blowing up his phone. He's only given his new number to the people still in his corner.

Jussie was arrested Thursday and is facing a felony charge of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He was released from custody after posting a $10k bond and has been ordered to have no contact with the Osundairo brothers.  

Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson says Jussie's dissatisfaction with his "Empire" salary motivated the ruse and claims Smollett was also responsible for the hate letter sent to Fox Studios.

Jussie Smollett Feds Dispute Police Superintendent ... Not Certain Jussie Wrote Letter

2/22/2019 12:50 AM PST

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says it's a lock -- Jussie Smollett sent that letter 8 days before the "attack" -- but various law enforcement sources tell TMZ the chief overstated things.

Federal law enforcement sources tell us they're still investigating the letter and have drawn no conclusions. Both federal and state law enforcement sources say the operating theory was that the 2 brothers -- Abel and Ola Osundairo -- may have mailed the letter because, when cops raided their apartment and seized magazines, there were pages missing.

We're told authorities are trying to determine if the pages have the lettering found in the letter. They're also checking the postage stamp against the stamps found in the brothers' apartment. As we reported, the brothers deny sending the letter

Obviously, if the brothers sent the letter, it comes back to Jussie -- because they would have done it at his behest -- but as one federal law enforcement source tells TMZ, "I think he [Johnson] went too far. We're not there yet."

The FBI tells TMZ they are assisting Chicago PD in determining who sent the letter. We asked repeatedly if they are conducting an independent mail fraud investigation, but they will neither confirm nor deny. 

Dr. Drew Jussie Smollett's Got a Character Issue ... Not a Mental Health Issue

2/22/2019 12:40 AM PST

Dr. Drew -- like the rest of the world -- is having trouble processing why Jussie Smollett would stage an "attack" ... but one thing's clear to the doc ... it's more about character than mental health. 

The doc was out and about Thursday in NYC and raised the issue of Jussie going to a rehab facility, in light of the actor confessing in court documents he has a drug problem. Fact is ... criminal defense lawyers often put their clients in rehab to mitigate the possibility of a harsh sentence in the event they're convicted. It wouldn't be surprising if Jussie enters such a facility sooner rather than later.  

Drew also bristles at the notion Jussie's done in the Hollywood community. Not only does he see a future for the actor ... he thinks he deserves a future, because everyone screws up.

Blac Chyna Soulja Boy's Thirsty, Immature ... His Breakup Response Proves It!!!

2/22/2019 12:30 AM PST

Blac Chyna is blasting Soulja Boy for trying to sex shame her after their breakup ... and she's hitting him where it hurts!!!

Sources close to Blac Chyna tell TMZ ... Soulja Boy's an immature, thirsty clout chaser who was begging to get with her, and she's glad their relationship is dunzo!!!

We're told BC's anger stems from SB's response to TMZ breaking the news of their split. In a since-deleted tweet, Soulja Boy said he "just wanted to see what the p***y felt like."

Yeah, Draco really went there. 

Our Chyna sources say she's happy Soulja Boy's out of her life because the tweet showed his true colors. We're told she felt his reaction was the lowest of the low, and utterly ridiculous.

As we reported ... Soulja Boy was super romantic and sweet while lavishing Chyna with $20,000 in gifts during a Valentine's Day shopping spree ... but it appears he left his manners in Beverly Hills.

Peyton Manning Topless & Hairless In Miami Beach Football Sesh

2/22/2019 12:20 AM PST

Judging by Peyton Manning's beach bod, no football and a ton of Nationwide commercials does a body good!!!

Check out the retired 42-year-old on the beach in Miami this week -- tossin' around a football with his kids ... and showing off his shirtless, hairless physique. 

Look, he's no Cam Newton ... but he's in pretty damn good shape for a guy who's been retired for nearly 3 years!!!

Check the vid ... dude's flashing bulky traps, decent biceps, faint abs -- and yeah, the cannon arm is still there too!!!

Of course, Peyton quit the NFL after winning the Super Bowl in 2016 (following the 2015 season) -- ending one of the most impressive careers in the history of the league. 

It all begs the question ... is his bod better than Tom Brady's right now???

A shirtless TB12 was spotted on vacation with Gisele in Costa Rica just last week ... you be the judge.

Peyton is a surefire 1st ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 2021. 

Besides winning 2 Super Bowls (1 with the Indianapolis Colts, 1 with the Denver Broncos) ... he was a 14-time Pro Bowler, 7-time 1st team All-Pro and was the NFL MVP 5 times!!!

Plus, he led the NFL in passing yards 3 different seasons ... and was No. 1 in passing TDs in 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2013. 

Peyton's little bro, Eli Manning, is still in the league -- but at 38 years old and following a less-than-stellar 2018 campaign ... the Giants QB might be joining his brother on the beach in the near future

Guess Who This Striped Sweetie Turned Into!

2/22/2019 12:01 AM PST

Before this happy human was a famous actor known for his luscious locks, he was just another kid smiling for the camera in Cypress, California. Can you guess who he is?

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Jussie Smollett 'I Swear to God, I Did Not Do This' ... Pleads to 'Empire' Cast

2/21/2019 4:52 PM PST

Jussie Smollett is begging his "Empire" family to believe he's innocent and continue supporting him -- even as the drama of his arrest postponed a scene Thursday in Chicago.

Sources on the "Empire" set tell us the cast and crew were waiting at least 30 minutes for Jussie to begin the scheduled scene. When he eventually showed his face he was very emotional, and surrounded by his family.

We're told he addressed everyone on set, saying ..."I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this.”

After that, he left the set. We're told it was obvious Jussie had been crying a lot, so producers said he would have to come back later. He did, and we're told he is currently shooting the scene. 

As we reported, Smollett bolted from the mob scene outside court, and headed straight to Chicago's Cinespace Studio ... after his bail was set at $100k. News choppers and trucks followed him most of the way as he crossed town.

Kylie Jenner Jordyn Who??? Steps Out with Other Bestie

2/21/2019 3:46 PM PST

Kylie Jenner's already moving on from Jordyn Woods, and hanging with a different BFF.

Kylie stepped out Thursday for the first time since TMZ broke the story Khloe was kicking Tristan to the curb for allegedly cheating (again) ... this time with her sister's BFF, Jordyn.

KJ was all bundled up and trying to cover her face next to her pal, Heather Sanders.

We might've buried the headline here, but it's snowing in parts of L.A. right now! So, Kylie and Heather were definitely dressed for it out in Calabasas -- and they even recorded a video to commemorate the oddly chilly occasion.

As for Jordyn ... we're told she's moving out of Kylie's pad and back into her mom's house for now.

It's unclear where exactly things stand between Kylie and her -- but it's safe to assume it ain't great.

Or even good.

Jerry Springer If Jussie Wanted a Pay Raise He Should've Put in the Work, Not Lie

2/21/2019 4:57 PM PST

Jerry Springer says there's a simple solution Jussie Smollett could've pursued if he wanted a bump in salary from "Empire" brass -- get on the grind ... and lay off the alleged lies.

The famed daytime TV host -- who's obviously seen plenty of crazy scenarios -- told us Thursday at LAX that Jussie's story truly has him dumbfounded.

He says he doesn't understand why Jussie might've done this, and in such an inflammatory way -- invoking racism, homophobia and politics at a time when the country is at a boiling point. 

Chicago PD's superintendent said they believe Jussie orchestrated the staged attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary.

If that's indeed the case ... Jerry says Smollett should've put in some good old-fashioned hard work to get the dough he thinks he deserves.

As it stands, Jussie's career is hanging in the balance. Fox execs say they're "considering our options" when it comes to his continued role on the show.

Jussie Smollett Released from Custody ... Bail Set at $100k

2/21/2019 1:47 PM PST

2:10 PM PT -- Jussie told police, during his arrest, he has a drug problem ... one for which he's never been treated. That could become relevant later in the case because, as we reported, cops say Jussie bought ecstasy from Abel. IF he were convicted, a drug issue could be a mitigating factor that gets his sentenced reduced.

According to docs, Smollett also answered "no" to alcohol or mental health problems.

One of the conditions of his bail calls for him to have no contact with Ola and Abel Osundairo or their family members.

1:45 PM PT -- Jussie has just been released from custody into a mob of reporters, security and police officers. He got in a black SUV and quickly left the courthouse.

12:04 PM PT -- Jussie's bail was just set by a judge at $100k. He has to surrender his passport as part of his bail conditions and post 10% of his total bail to be released from custody. He's also subject to pre-trial monitoring.

8:12 AM PT -- Trump has now weighed in on the situation, calling Jussie's allegations "racist and dangerous."

7:10 AM PT -- The Police Superintendent just expressed his outrage at Jussie Smollett for allegedly betraying the African American and LGBT communities to further his career in a "publicity stunt." The superintendent said Smollett created the ruse because "he was dissatisfied with his salary" on "Empire."

The Superintendent also said the wounds on Smollett were most likely "self-inflicted."

The Superintendent added that Jussie sent a "false letter" -- presumably the letter that was sent to Fox Studios 8 days before the incident.

4:15 AM PT -- Jussie has turned himself in and is under arrest. He's been booked and will be taken in custody to the courthouse where he will be going to bond court at 1:30 PM CT. He will either post bond or be released on his own recognizance. He will not enter a plea.

Jussie Smollett has just been charged for a felony ... disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, and the stakes are 3 years in prison.

Click here... it's not over yet

Kendra Wilkinson Divorce from Hank Baskett Finalized ... Finally!!!

2/21/2019 3:24 PM PST

Kendra Wilkinson is officially back on the market ... 'cause the former playmate just finalized her divorce with ex-NFL star Hank Baskett.

Kendra and Hank filed docs in January signifying their marriage is dunzo ... and this time they got it right. According to the docs ... they will share joint custody of their 2 kids -- 9-year-old Hank IV and 4-year-old Alijah. They're also splitting most of their property right down the middle.

As we reported, the ex-couple had two previous divorce settlements rejected by the court after making clerical errors in their filings.

Kendra and Hank got hitched back in 2009 at the Playboy Mansion ... with the late Hugh Hefner and her other 'Girls Next Door' castmates in attendance. 

TMZ broke the story ... Kendra filed for divorce back in April, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. 

Right before the divorce filing, Kendra posted an emotional video of herself crying, confirming a split from Hank ... and saying she was frightened for the next step.

That step is finally here. 

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Jussie Smollett Cops Say 'Attack' Plans Started with Text ... 'Might Need Your Help on the Low'

2/21/2019 1:00 PM PST
Breaking News

Jussie Smollett sent a text to the Osundairo brothers 4 days before the allegedly staged attack went down ... then met with them to go over details, including dousing the actor in gasoline.

Prosecutors detailed the evidence they've gathered against Jussie in docs filed for his bond hearing -- and it's jaw-dropping. In the docs, prosecutors say Smollett received the now-infamous hate mail -- with homophobic and racial epithets -- on January 22 at the Chicago studio where "Empire" is shot.

The letter contained an "unknown white powdery substance." It would appear that was intended to make people think it was Anthrax or some other dangerous chemical ... but prosecutors say it turned out to be crushed Ibuprofen.

Then on January 25, Jussie fires off the text to Abel Osundairo, saying ... "Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?" Cops say Abel and Jussie had been friends since the fall of 2017, and that Jussie sometimes scored ecstasy from him.

Later on the 25th, they did meet face to face outside Abel's Chicago apartment and talked in Jussie's car about staging the attack. Cops say this is when Ola was brought onboard. The original plan, according to cops, was for Ola to place a rope around Jussie's neck, pour gasoline on him and yell, "This is MAGA country." At that point, they say Jussie gave them a $100 bill to go purchase necessary items for the "attack."

On January 27, they meet again and drive around Chicago to scout locations. Cops say Smollett told them to leave their cell phones and pointed out the surveillance cam near Jussie's residence that he believed would record the incident. 

They made a late change from gasoline to bleach -- although cops don't say why -- and Smollett also handed them the $3,500 check payable to Abel and backdated to Jan. 23. As we've reported, Jussie noted in the memo line that the check was for training.

On January 28, the brothers bought the materials and Abel deposited the check.

Now to the "attack" ... at 12:49 AM, on January 29, cops say there was a 3-minute call between Smollett and Abel, and Jussie told him the "attack" would go down at exactly 2 AM.

Interestingly, police are now revealing they do have surveillance video of the brothers waiting on a bench near the predetermined staging location around 2 AM. Cops say Jussie was running late. 

As you know, the Osundairos boarded a flight for Nigeria later on the 29th -- but police say Jussie spoke to Abel on Jan. 30. They say Jussie called him for 8 minutes and 48 seconds, while Abel was in Turkey. 

And, there's this ... you'll recall Smollett's camp told TMZ the day of the attack, he believed his attackers were white. Cops say he also told them, "he could see that the area around this person's eyes was white-skinned."

Of course, we now know nothing could be further from the truth.

Jussie Smollett Drops Trump Diss On Scrapped 'Drop the Mic'

2/21/2019 2:28 PM PST

Jussie Smollett took aim at Donald Trump during a "Drop the Mic" appearance, and even though TNT's yanked the episode ... we got a snippet of his rap battle.

Jussie was taking on "Orange is the New Black" star Danielle Brooks when he spit a few orange disses on President Trump. 

The episode was released online the week after Jussie claimed he was brutally attacked in Chicago -- but in the wake of Jussie's arrest on felony charges for filing a false police report, TNT says it's never gonna air. 

The collateral damage in all this -- "American Idol" star Clay Aiken and Ian Ziering ... who also battled in the episode, won't be seen on TV. 

Jussie's never hidden his disdain for Trump, and recently tweeted at the Prez, calling him a "bitch ass n***a."

However, Smollett did work in a Barack Obama line. That one was a compliment ... watch.

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