The two Nigerian brothers connected to “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s alleged fake hate crime claimed in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the actor organized every aspect of the attack, which was designed to help him cultivate an image as a successful gay, black actor.
“Mr. Smollett’s motivation was simple. He wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful Black, openly gay actor,” Ola and Abel Osundairo said in a defamation lawsuit filed in federal court against Smollett’s legal team.
Smollett had faced 16 charges for allegedly filing a false police report in January claiming that two individuals attacked him on the streets of Chicago with a chemical substance and a noose, but the charges were abruptly dropped in March in a controversial move by the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. (RELATED: People Fleeing Ki Foxx’s Office After Decision To Drop Charges Against Smollett)
The Osundairo brothers said Smollett, who isn’t a party in their lawsuit, “directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose.”
The lawsuit claims that two of Smollett’s attorneys, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, defamed the brothers for maintaining in media appearances that they had perpetrated the attack despite the evidence showing it was “a hoax entirely conceived and directed by” Smollett.
The brothers said in their lawsuit that Smollett approached them four days before the attack to ask for a favor: to “help him stage a social media hoax and pretend to attack him.”
Smollett “used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence Plaintiffs, who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to ‘make it’ in Hollywood,” the lawsuit stated.
Smollett maintains his innocence. His brother, Jojo Smollett, wrote in a BET op-ed Saturday that the actor is “violently awakening from night terrors, following the assault.”
Jussie Smollett faces a lawsuit from the Chicago Department of Law, which seeks $130,000 from the act “for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report.” The lawsuit was filed earlier in April after the actor refused to reimburse the city.
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