Following Jussie Smollett’s arrest on a felony claim for filing a false police report, the Chicago PD held a press conference that summed up the incident as follows: “This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn.” Via CNN coverage, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson lodged a set of accusations against the Empire actor. Johnson first referred to a threatening letter “that relied on racial, homophobic and political language,” which police believe that Smollett arranged to have sent to the FOX series’ set. Johnson then alleges that Smollett then orchestrated the physical attack upon himself — at the cost of $3,500 — because he had an Empire salary beef:
“When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago’s reputation through the mud in the process. And why? The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary. So he concocted a story about being attacked.”
It gets weirder. CBS Chicago reports that Smollett likely inflicted his own scratches and bruises and paid two Nigerian men (who were Empire extras that police no longer consider to be suspects) with a check — obviously an easily traceable method that further contributes to the bizarre nature of this story.
Johnson stated that Smollett “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.” He continues in this clip while singling out the “use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations”: