Multiple credible media outlets are now reporting that Jussie Smollett staged the racist and homophobia attack against in last month in Chicago.
Both ABC News and CBS Chicago report that sources tell them the Empire actor paid two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, to orchestrate the attack after a letter sent to the Empire set threatening the 36-year-old star didn’t receive a “bigger reaction.”
Very important to note: Police have not confirmed these reports.
According to the ABC and CBS reports, the brothers, both acquaintances of Smollett, were reportedly paid $3500 to stage the attack, which happened in the early hours of January 29.
One of the brothers had previously worked as an extra on the Empire set; the other was Smollett’s former personal trainer.
Speaking to CBS Chicago, the brothers say: “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.”
CBS Chicago reports:
Sources say at least one of the brothers bought the rope used in the incident at Smollett’s request. The sources also say the “Empire” actor paid for the rope, which was purchased at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood the weekend of Jan. 25.
Sources said one of the brothers held the rope and poured bleach while the other wore a plain red hat and yelled slurs at Smollett. The sources say the red hat was bought at an Uptown beauty supply store and that the attack was supposed to happen before Jan. 29.
Meanwhile, TMZ reports that the trio had rehearsed the attack beforehand. The men purportedly scouted locations, finally choosing on near Smollett’s apartment.
According to TMZ:
The brothers said Jussie chose the spot because he believed a camera would have captured the action. Our sources say the brothers told police Jussie said he wanted to make it a “physical thing,” but not to the point he’d be seriously injured. On the night Jussie says he was attacked, the brothers claim they showed up at the scene but were extremely nervous because, just as they played out the scene, a car drove by and they were worried they’d be ID’d.
Once again, it’s important to note that police have not confirmed these reports. Police have said, however, that they want to question Smollett again but, so far, he has refused to sit down with them.
On Sunday, his attorney issued a statement, saying:
We are not going to respond to every new, anonymous accusation or rumor. Jussie Smollett’s lawyers are in contact with the Chicago Police Department. Jussie will continue to cooperate with the investigation in an appropriate and respectful manner that does not include talking to media at this time.
According to TMZ, Smollett’s scenes in upcoming episodes of Empire have been cut.