Jussie Smollett supposedly rehearsed his "attack" with two men before the Jan. 29 incident. TMZ's reporting that what was initially interpreted as a racist, homophobic hate crime was staged for cameras and that two brothers who carried out the alleged assault, Abel and Ola Osundairo, revealed this information to police.
The Osundairos claimed to have taken a drive with Smollett beforehand to scout a location, and ultimately chose an area outside the actor/singer’s apartment building. They said Smollett picked the spot because he thought a camera would record the incident.
TMZ’s sources said police were also told Smollett wanted to make it a “physical thing,” but not to go so far that he’d be badly injured. On the night of the event, the brothers say they showed up at the spot but were nervous: just as they started to act out the plan, a car drove by and they feared they would be identified.
TMZ shares that Osundairos performed per Smollett’s wishes, screaming out that they knew Smollett from Empire, while calling him racist and homophobic names. The men told police they “made contact with Jussie's face” but it was “weak.” They said they don’t know how he became so bruised, but that the fight wasn’t planned to hurt him.
Smollett was set to meet with the police, but on Monday, news emerged that he wouldn’t. Earlier, it was divulged that local authorities wanted to speak with the Empire star again in connection with “new evidence."
Following the brothers’ arrest on Wednesday, Feb. 13, the police department supposedly discovered the aforementioned new evidence that allowed for their release on Friday. Two police sources reportedly told CNN Smollett may have paid the two brothers.
There has been a lot of back and forth in this case. On Feb. 14, it was revealed that police were denying reports that said Smollett’s attack was orchestrated, with Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi denying reports saying the Chicago police believe the attack against Smollett was staged.
Guglielmi made the statement on Twitter, following ABC 7’s report, which cited sources claiming the attack was set up. Sources also alleged that Smollett was in the process of being written off Empire.