Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference on Feb. 21, 2019 at 10:15 a.m CT actor Jussie Smollett sent himself a homophobic and racist letter and staged an attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the television show “Empire.”
Johnson said Smollett faked a letter using homophobic and racist language. When that did not get Smollett the attention he desired, he paid two brothers $3,500 who worked with the actor on the television show “Empire” to stage the hate crime attack.
The Police Superintendent said:
Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger to promote his career. I am left hanging my head and asking why? Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile? How can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims
Gloria Schmidt, the attorney representing the brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, said on Feb. 20 they testified for hours in front of the grand jury.
Johnson said the police had in their possession the check Smollett used to pay the Osundairo brothers, and the scratches and wounds the actor obtained during the attack were self-inflicted.
Fox Entertainment the station that “Empire” airs on would not comment. If convicted, Smollett faces one to three years in prison.
Written by Barbara Sobel
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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Chicago Police Department – Public Domain License