Empire actor Jussie Smollett staged a fake hate crime attack on himself because he was unhappy about his pay on the hit Fox show, Chicago police said Thursday.
“The stunt was orchestrated because he was dissatisfied with his salary,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters in a Thursday morning news conference. .
“Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and and anger of racism to promote his career.” Johnson, who appeared visibly angry, called Smollett’s actions “despicable. .
The actor turned himself into police early Thursday after he was charged Wednesday night with felony disorderly conduct in filing a false police report.
Smollett, who is black and openly gay, told police he was the victim of a hate crime, claiming on Jan. 29, that two people yelled homophobic and racist statements at him, beat him, threw bleach on him and put a noose around his neck. .
Among the things he said the attackers shouted was “this is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan.
Johnson said Smollett had paid two Nigerian brothers, $3,500, by check, to stage the attack after he sent himself a letter with racist and homophobic language in order to gain attention.