The two brothers who allegedly participated in a staged hate attack on Jussie Smollett have filed a defamation suit against Smollett’s lawyers, accusing the attorneys of smearing their reputations in a bid to salvage Smollett’s image.
Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo filed suit in federal court in Illinois on Tuesday. The suit alleges that Smollett’s attorneys Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian gave interviews in which they sought to scapegoat the brothers. The suit also accuses Glandian of falsely suggesting that Abimbola Osundairo had sexual relations with Smollett, exposing him to backlash in the Nigerian community.
Smollett told Chicago police on Jan. 29 that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs and put a noose around his neck. Police later traced the attack to the Osundairo brothers, who confessed that Smollett had paid them to stage the attack.
In the suit, the brothers state that Smollett asked them to “help him stage a social media hoax,” and that they went along with it because he is a wealthy actor and they “were aspiring to ‘make it’ in Hollywood.”
“Mr. Smollett’s motivation was simple,” the suit states. “He wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful Black, openly gay actor. So, Mr. Smollett directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose.”
Smollett has maintained his innocence. He was indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report, but in a surprise move, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped all charges against him in exchange for the forfeiture of a $10,000 bond.
After the charges were dropped, Glandian gave interviews defending Smollett. In one, she noted that Abimbola Osundairo is a personal trainer who advertises “steroid-free” bodybuilding, and said that it was “ridiculous.” The suit contends that Glandian was implying that Osundairo distributes illegal Nigerian steroids.
Glandian also suggested that the two brothers wore “whiteface” makeup on the night of the attack, in an effort to explain why Smollett told police that his attackers were white-skinned. The suit states that that is not true. The suit also accuses Glandian of falsely implying that Abimbola Osundairo had sex with Smollett.
The brothers are Nigerian-American, and have Nigerian relatives. The suit notes that homosexual activity is a crime in Nigeria.
“Ms. Glandian’s globally broadcasted statements that Bola Osundairo is homosexual endangers him and the lives of his Nigerian family,” the suit states.
The suit also contends that the brothers have been financially harmed by the attorneys’ effort to blame them for the attack.
“Ms. Glandian’s statements have caused considerable damage to Plaintiffs’ careers, as they have lost talent agent contracts and career opportunities,” the suit alleges.
Glandian and Geragos issued a response, vowing to “expose” the brothers for perpetrating a fraud on the public.
“At first we thought this comical legal document was a parody,” the attorneys said. “Instead this so-called lawsuit by the brothers is more of their lawyer driven nonsense, and a desperate attempt for them to stay relevant and further profit from an attack they admit they perpetrated. While we know this ridiculous lawsuit will soon be dismissed because it lacks any legal footing, we look forward to exposing the fraud the Osundairo brothers and their attorneys have committed on the public.”