Updated: February 28, 2021
Two Nigerian brothers were paid $3500 to stage a false attack on an African American open gay actor because he was dissatisfied with his salary, the Chicago Police Department said on Thursday.
The hate hoax took place on January 29. Back then, the actor received a lot of sympathy from many Americans opposed to racism, after he detailed how he was assaulted by two masked men who yelled racist statements at him, poured a chemical on him and wrapped a rope around his neck.
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But as the police began investigating the case, it became clear that it was all a lie. The “Empire” actor was not a victim, but a suspect in his own assault investigation.
Jussie Smollett paid the two brothers, Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo, to stage a hoax but over 50 cameras and 100 witnesses were able to establish that it was all a publicity stunt, the police said at a news conference.
The actor also sent himself a false racist letter and resorted to the attack when the letter failed to generate enough attention in the media.
Police said the actor exploited the divisions and pains of racism to advance his public profile.
The actor has denied these allegations and his lawyer has promised to defend him vigorously in court.