“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who reported that he was the victim of an apparent hate crime in Chicago on Jan. 29, may have staged the attack because he was upset at the lukewarm reaction to a racist letter that was sent to the show’s studio the previous week, according to CBS 2 in Chicago.
CBS 2 (WBBM -TV) investigator Brad Edwards quotes a source saying: “When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack.”
The report adds that other sources “corroborated that information.”
The letter, which was received Jan. 22 at Chicago’s Cinespace Studios, targeted Smollett with racial and homophobic threats, the report notes. The letter, which contained a white powder and prompted a HAZMAT response, is being investigated by the FBI. The powder reportedly turned out to be aspirin.
“The blockbuster revelation into at least part of Smollett’s potential motive comes two days after CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Smollett and two brothers — Ola and Abel Osundairo — staged the attack on Jan. 29 in Streeterville,” CBS 2 reports. “De Mar spoke on the phone exclusively with the Osundairo brothers Monday afternoon. In a joint statement, they said: ‘We are not racist. We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.’”
The station posted a photo of the Jan. 22 letter, which you can see by clicking here.