Jussie Smollett, who was arrested and placed in custody Thursday morning, staged a fake attack on himself as a publicity stunt to “promote his career,” Chicago police officials said. At a press conference, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the attack was a stunt “orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary.” “This announcement today recognizes that Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” he added. The Empire actor was charged with felony disorderly conduct Wednesday evening for allegedly filing a false police report claiming he was attacked by two men in Chicago last month. Tom Ahern, deputy communications director at CPD, added that Smollett was facing a class-four felony charge—punishable by as much as three years in prison—for “disorderly conduct in falsifying police report.”
The judge at Smollett’s Thursday hearing in Cook County Criminal Court reportedly set the actor’s bond at $100,000, and ordered him to surrender his passport. Prosecutors said Amibola “Abel” Osundairio, one of the brothers who was allegedly paid $3,500 to participate in the attack, was a friend of Smollett’s. Smollett “directed Abel to attack him, but not hurt him too badly and give a chance to appear to fight back. Defendant Smollett also said he wanted Ola [Osundairo] to place a rope around his neck, pour gasoline on him and yell, ‘This is MAGA country,’” Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier said.