On Thursday, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson shredded actor Jussie Smollett during a press conference, calling him a “troubled young man” who took “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to further his career.” Smollett is accused of staging a hate crime on January 29 and lying to authorities about the event.
[Scroll down for video]
Police claim, according to a report by the Daily Mail, that Smollett was unhappy with his $100,000 per episode salary for his role in Empire. An associate of the show said that the current season is comprised of 18 episodes, meaning Smollett would earn $1.8 million for the season.
Smollett is charged with filing a fake police report, claiming he was a victim of racist and homophobic attackers. Police say he scratched his own face so that he would have visible marks when he took a selfie in his hospital bed.
Along with staging the hoax attack, Smollett also reportedly sent himself threatening hate mail.
Police say the actor was “dissatisfied” with his salary and was looking to boost his career.
The alleged motive “p***ed everyone off,” said Johnson during a press conference. He also asserted that Smollett’s “lies” were “despicable” and “shameful.”
Johnson also called for “absolute justice,” which he says includes an apology from Smollett as well as an offer from the star to pay for any police resources that he wasted by filing a false report.
Police found phone records showing calls between Smollett and the two attackers – brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo – approximately one hour before the January 29 attack as well as an hour afterward and while the pair were in Nigeria trying to maintain a low profile.
They also state that Smollett paid the brothers with a $3,500 check, which police have in their possession.
Once in custody, the brothers “confessed” to the “entire plot.”
Smollett is currently facing felony charges for filing a false police report. He surrendered to police custody.
In light of his arrest, 20th Century Fox is said to be “considering its options,” though did defend the actor on Wednesday.