Actor Jussie Smollett may have staged an attack on himself after he felt his "Empire" show did not properly address a racist letter directed at him, according to a new report.
CBS Chicago reported Monday afternoon that the letter and the show's handling of it was the potential motive for what may have been Smollett's false claim that he was attacked by two men in Chicago last month in the middle of the night.
"When the letter didn't get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack," a source told the station. The story was corroborated by others.
The letter in question, according to CBS, was received by Cinespace Studios in Chicago, where "Empire" is filmed, on Jan. 22. It contained white powder and a note made from cut-out letters. The words they spelled were racist and homophobic, CBS noted.
Smollett is gay and black.
The alleged attack happened Jan. 29 in Chicago. Smollett, who according to The Daily Mail landed after a flight from New York City around midnight, said he was out walking at 2 a.m. to get a sandwich from Subway when two men attacked him, poured a chemical on him, put a noose around his neck, and shouted racial and homophobic slurs. Smollett also claimed the attackers said," This is MAGA country," a reference to President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.
Holes have since appeared in Smollett's story, and he is reportedly being investigated for staging the attack with the help of two men he allegedly paid $3,500.
Police said over the weekend the investigation had "shifted" after they learned new information. Police asked to interview Smollett again but his lawyer said Monday he had no plans to do so, at least on that day.
Sources told CBS Chicago that one of the men questioned in the attack purchased the rope used to make the noose at a hardware store at Smollett's direction.
The Daily Mail also noted that on the night of the attack, Smollett documented his delayed flight and when he arrived in Chicago on Instagram, which may have been done to alert his "attackers" when he would be in Chicago.