Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said actor Jussie Smollett faked a threatening letter and then, a week later, staged a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago because he was "dissatisfied with his salary" on the "Empire" television show.
"First, Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language," Johnson said Thursday morning at Chicago police headquarters. "When that didn't work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago's reputation through the mud in the process... This stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary. So he concocted a story about being attacked."
He went on to say everybody was 'pissed off' when investigators found out the real motive behind the attack.
"It's just despicable," Johnson continued. "It makes you wonder what's going on in someone's mind to be able to do something like that... I'm left hanging my head and asking why? Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?"
Smollett surrendered to Chicago police around 5 a.m. Thursday on a felony charge of disorderly conduct alleging he made a false police report.
His bail was set at $100,000. If convicted, Smollett faces up to three years in prison and could be ordered to pay for the cost of the investigation, which involved more than 20 detectives over three weeks.
Read more about what led up to the arrest and more at the Chicago Tribune.
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