The Chicago Police Department has revealed the motive behind Jussie Smollett's alleged staged attack.
During a press conference on Thursday (February 21), the Superintendent of Police, Eddie Johnson, accused the Empire actor of staging the attack because he was "dissatisfied with his salary." He claimed took "drastic and illegal tactics to gain attention," adding Smollett "concocted a story" about an alleged hate crime that "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career." The Chicago PD is accusing Smollett of paying his attackers — brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo — $3,500 by check before the attack and sending them the rest of their payment after the job was done. The Superintendent said phone records show Smollett spoke to the brothers before and after the attack.
Johnson additionally told reporters the 36-year-old actor was also behind the threatening letter that was sent to the Empire set, addressed to Smullett, prior to his allegedly staged attack. He explained that after the letter —which contained racist and homophobic threats, as well as a white powder that was later determined to be aspirin — didn't get the attention Smollett was seeking, he decided to stage an attack. "When we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off because we have to invest valuable resources," Johnson explained.
After denouncing Smollett's actions, calling them "despicable and "shameful," Johnson said that he would like the 36-year-old actor to apologize. "Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared, admitting what he did and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of resources put into this," Johnson said.
The actor was arrested early Thursday morning. He was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing the allegedly false report. As previously reported, the Empire star claimed he was assaulted in Chicago on January 29 by two men wearing ski masks. Smollett said he had just arrived in the city from New York and made a late-night run to a Subway when someone yelled: "Aren't you that f**got 'Empire' n**ga?" He claimed the two attackers then proceeded to jump him, put a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him.
Before Smollett's arrest, his legal team denied claims he had any role in the attack. "As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," they said in a statement. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."
Smollett faces up to three years behind bars.
Photo: Chicago PD