Jussie Smollett Indicted for Faking Hate Crime as a Publicity Stunt

Jussie Smollett Indicted for Faking Hate Crime as a Publicity Stunt

Jussie Smollett, actor on the hit Fox show Empire, turned himself in to Chicago police on February 21 amid a felony indictment for disorderly conduct for paying two men to perpetrate a hate crime on himself back in January. Smollett, who is openly gay, claimed that he was attacked by two white men wearing red hats who also hurled homophobic and racist epithets toward the actor. Smollett also alleged that the two men yelled “this is MAGA country,” referencing Donald Trump’s famed campaign slogan—Make America Great Again.

The two suspects in the alleged attack, brothers Olabinjo and Abimola Osundario, Chicago natives of Nigerian descent, were allegedly paid $3,500 by Smollett for their participation in the hoax. The brothers were arrested, questioned, and later released by Chicago authorities, citing “new evidence.” The Osundario brothers are no longer considered suspects in the case.

Jussie Smollett continues to deny his alleged involvement in the crime and in a statement released by his attorneys, Smollett said:

 

“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. 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.”

 

As for a motive, Chicago police said on February 21 that they believe he staged the attack as a ploy to get a pay raise for his role on the show Empire.

 

 

Sources

“Jussie Smollett Staged Attack Because He Was ‘Dissatisfied with His Salary,’ Police Say.” ABC7 Chicago, ABC Inc., 21 Feb. 2019, abc7chicago.com/jussie-smollett-staged-attack-because-he-was-dissatisfied-with-his-salary-police-say/5148577/.

Mar, Charlie De. “NEW: Color Booking Photo of Jussie Smollett. Facing Disorderly Conduct Stemming from Filing a False Police Report. @Cbschicago Pic.twitter.com/lpbZW6Sc5c.” Twitter, Twitter, 21 Feb. 2019, twitter.com/CharlieDeMar/status/1098598534146871296/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctw-camp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1098598534146871296&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fchicago.cbslocal.com%2F2019%2F02%2F21%2Fjussie-smollett-surrenders-disorderly-conduct-staged-attack%2F.

“Police Say Jussie Smollett Paid Two Men By Check To Stage Attack; ‘This Publicity Stunt Was A Scar That Chicago Didn’t Earn’.” CBS Chicago, CBS Broadcasting Inc., 21 Feb. 2019, chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/02/21/jussie-smollett-surrenders-disorderly-conduct-staged-attack/.

Young, Ryan. “Chicago Detectives Are Seeking Jussie Smollett’s Financial Records, Police Source Says.” CNN, Cable News Network, 20 Feb. 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/02/20/entertainment/jussie-smollett-attack/index.html.