Jussie Smolett, the Empire actor accused of staging his own homophobic assault, reportedly had a sexual relationship with one of his alleged attackers.
Speaking to Page Six, a source suggests that Smollett and Ambimbola “Abel” Osundairo used to “party together” and frequented a gay sauna together in Chicago on several occasions.
“They went to this affluent Chicago bathhouse multiple times and they had to show ID,” the source said. “It’s known as a bathhouse where a lot of affluent black gay men hang out. There should be a record [of their visits].”
If there is evidence of their visits, the source says they could be used as part of the upcoming trial
Abel and his brother Ola were accused by Smollett of the assault last January, which he claimed was racially motivated and left him hospitalised.
At the time, he said that two white men had tied a rope around his neck, poured a corrosive substance over him and made reference to Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great again”.
When Chicago police officers arrested the Osundairo brothers, who had appeared as extras in Empire, they claimed Smollett had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack because he’d been unhappy with his Empire salary.
He insists the $3,500 was for performance-enhancing drugs.
Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct, which could’ve seen him jailed for 50 years, but the charges were subsequently dropped and he was let off with a $10,000 bail forfeiture and community services.
The Osundairo brothers – of Nigerian descent – have previously denied being gay and filed a lawsuit against Smollett’s lawyers for hinting there’d been a sexual element to their relationship with the actor.
The lawsuit, which was dismissed in March, claimed that their lives and the lives of their family had been put at risk by the insinuation, because of Nigeria’s strict anti-gay laws.
According to the source, Smollett is describing the situation as “all one big setup”, which has seen him lose his job on Empire and his career as a rising star in the entertainment industry.