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DO ‘EMPIRE’ EXECS DOUBT STORY THAT JUSSIE SMOLLETT STAGED ATTACK?

Empire sources are telling TMZ that the powers that be don’t really buy the theory that Jussie Smollett staged his own hate attack in a bid to up his salary. Insiders say that he never complained about being underpaid (he reportedly snags $125K an episode).

But Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has theorized that Smollett staged the attack to raise his profile and get a salary bump. Empire sources say the theory is especially suspect considering he was in the middle of a salary negotiation when the attack happened, and that neither he nor his reps raised the issue.