Accuracy in Media

On Monday, the Chicago Police released a video showing the two brothers of Empire star Jussie Smollett allegedly paid to stage a hate crime attack against himself in the back of a taxi on the night the incident took place.

The video shows the two brothers, Ambimbola and Olabinjio Osundairo, in the back of a taxi trying to hide their faces with hoodies tightly closed around their heads and faces.

In the video, the taxi driver is heard asking the two brothers if the location is fine to stop at. The brothers give the driver cash before walking away to their final destination.

This video was one of many pieces of evidence released on Monday along with a clip showing Smollett wearing a rope around his neck while explaining to police what happened. In the clip, Smollett tries to explain why he is still wearing the white rope and asks the police to turn off their body camera gear.

Smollett told police he is still wearing the rope because “He wanted them to see it.”

The new footage is part of more than 70 hours worth of surveillance video relevant to the Smollett case. The release comes on the heels of a judge appointing a special prosecutor to investigate why the Cook County Court dropped all charges against Smollett without any explanation why. 


In January the “Empire” star claimed he was attacked by two random men near his home who shouted racial slurs at him, tied a rope around his neck, and poured bleach on him. Chicago Police immediately opened up a hate crime investigation to figure out what occurred, but later charged him with filing a false police report.

In March all 16 counts against Smollett were dropped with no explanation. Days later Kim Foxx, the Cook County state’s attorney recused herself from the case, but text messages released from her office proved she was still weighing in on the case. In the text messages she told staffers that Smollett was being “treated unfairly and harshly.”

The hate crime hoax was cooked up by Smollett because he was not happy with his professional acting career. The stunt was supposed to provide him with a name recognition boost and raise his Hollywood profile.

Marissa Martinez is a political contributor for Accuracy in Media. She is the former political director to Massachusetts Governor’s re-election campaign, alumna of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and political consultant to PACs. Follow her stories, @MarissaAlisa

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