The brothers who police say helped Jussie Smollett stage a fake hate attack have issued an apology for old homophobic posts on their social media pages.
Last month, the Empire star was arrested and charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report about an alleged violent encounter with 2 pro-Trump racists outside his Chicago apartment on January 29.
Police officials believe Smollett paid Nigerian-American brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo $3,500 to help him pull off the hoax in the hope it would boost his career and salary.
The brothers were detained after they returned to the US from Nigeria. They were released 2 days later without charges after they admitted their role in the fake attack.
Earlier in the week, Smollett’s lawyers uncovered old homophobic tweets on a Twitter page used by the brothers.
In a 2013 tweet, Ola Osundairo chastised a man who was a fan of rapper Frank Ocean. The rapper came out as a homosexual in 2013.
“Why you following Frank Ocean,” Ola tweeted in 2013. “you know that ni**a gay right,” he added.
The brothers are American-born but their parents are from Nigeria, where anti-homosexual sentiment runs high.
As Smollett’s legal team began to push the brothers’ homophobia theory, the siblings released a statement to CBS 2’s Charlie de Mar via their attorney on Thursday.
“My clients have tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation, and they understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves,” Gloria Schmidt told CBS Chicago in a statement.
In a previous statement to CNN affiliate WBBM, the brothers 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.”
Smollett originally told police two men in ski masks used racial and homophobic slurs and attacked him, yelling, “This is MAGA country,” referencing U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”.
He also alleged that the two suspects poured bleach on him and tied a noose around his neck.
A dozen investigators, assisted by the FBI, quickly identified the two brothers as the persons of interest seen in surveillance video leaving the area.
Phone records and text messages further implicated Smollett as the mastermind behind the staged attack.
The feds are also looking into whether Smollett sent a threatening “anthrax” letter to himself at Fox TV’s Chicago studio.
Smollett, 36, maintains his innocence, insisting he was attacked. He is currently free on $100,000 bail and is due back in court on March 14.