Implicated Brothers Say ‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Staged His Own Attack To Get Attention

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Written by Dana Sanchez
Jussie Smollett
Actor-singer Jussie Smollett, from the Fox series, “Empire,” poses for a portrait on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)

Two brothers who were interrogated by police about the alleged Chicago street attack of actor Jussie Smollett say they helped him stage the assault.

Smollett was upset that a threatening letter sent to the “Empire” show’s studio did not get enough attention, ABC News reported.

Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo told investigators that Smollett paid them to help him stage the Jan. 29 attack that he said took place near his Chicago apartment, sources said.

A letter threatening Smollett was sent Jan. 22 to the Fox studio in Chicago, police said. The letter contained a powdery substance investigators believe was crushed-up Tylenol.


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Ava DuVernay, a Hollywood director, producer, screenwriter, film marketer and distributor, wasn’t buying anything from the Chicago police department.

“Despite the inconsistencies, I can’t blindly believe Chicago PD,” DuVernay tweeted to her 2.06 million followers. “The department that covered up shooting Laquan McDonald over a dozen times? That operated an off-site torture facility? That one? I’ll wait.”

The Osundairo brothers told the investigator that Smollet allegedly decided to stage an attack on himself because he felt the letter didn’t get enough attention, sources told ABC News.

Smollett, who checked himself in at a hospital after the attack, told police his attackers used racist and homophobic slurs. They shouted “MAGA country” referring to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

The attack was being treated as a hate crime. Smollett plays gay character Jamal Lyon on “Empire,” and joined the hit 20th Century Fox Television show in 2015.

Sources close to Smollett told TMZ in late January that Smollett arrived in Chicago from New York late Monday, and went out at around 2 a.m. because he was hungry. He went to a Subway. “We’re told when shortly after he walked out on his way home, someone yelled, “Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?” 

Smollett fought back, but the men beat him and fractured a rib,
TMZ reported. They put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and as they left they yelled, “This is MAGA country.”

“We are not racist. We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens,” the Osundairo brothers said in a statement to CBS Chicago affiliate WBBM, ABC News confirmed.

Smollett denies knowing the brothers, and insists he’s a victim. His attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, said in a statement that 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.”

When the brothers were threatened with hate crimes charges and battery charges, they agreed to work with detectives, sources told ABC News.