The two Nigerian brothers who say they were paid by actor Jussie Smollett to stage an attack on him in January 2019, engendering an outcry from the political Left including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, are speaking out about the incident and its aftermath for the first time.
Smollett, the former “Empire” star who paid $3,500 to Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, has never admitted that the attack, which he claimed was perpetrated by white supremacists, was a hoax. The brothers said that the attack was a hoax after they were in jail for nearly two days. Smollett was convicted of five felony counts of disorderly conduct in December 2021. In March 2022, he was sentenced to 150 days in county jail but only ended up spending six days behind bars after an appeal.
“The police did ask us what Jussie’s motive was, but Jussie did not really tell me a motive,” Abimbola told Fox Nation. “[But] from what he was speaking about, or talking about, I would say what he wanted to accomplish was to increase his star level.”
The comments were made in an interview for a new Fox Nation documentary called “Jussie Smollett: Anatomy of a Hoax.”
“He wanted to be the poster child for activism,” Olabinjo said, as Abimbola added, “That’s what I wanted to say. He wanted to be the hero for gay people, for black people,” The Daily Mail reported.
“I thought he was a good actor, but I also thought this guy was a fraud,” Abimbola said, referencing Smollett’s attitude in interviews after the incident. “This guy is really just sitting here, lying to these people. Lying through his teeth, and not caring. … I did feel betrayed by Jussie and what he had done. I didn’t know what to do — I wasn’t ready to say anything. Like, I was mute. And I didn’t want to say anything.”
“Insane. That’s when I really saw a different side of Jussie,” he said. “Like, dude, really? This is when I knew that this dude was like a supervillain.”
When the interviewer asked the brothers if they were “believable white supremacists,” Abimbola laughed. “One hundred percent! Look at me!” he said.
Abimbola claimed that Smollett would ask him to “help him procure or get weed, and different types of paraphernalia. … He would ask me to do it because he’s not from Chicago, and he wanted to keep a lower profile. … He did not want to get the drug dealer’s number – he wanted me to be the middleman and to get the drugs for him.”
At the time, the Smollett hoax was quickly picked up as a talking point by major Democrats, including Biden.
Biden tweeted, “What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie.” Harris called the incident a “modern-day lynching.”