(AllHipHop News) According to the Chicago Police Department, Jussie Smollett orchestrated a bogus assault against himself because he was not pleased with his earnings from Fox's Empire television series. This motive came as a shock to some observers since Smollett was supposedly making around $125,000 per episode.
How would faking a hate crime directly impact the actor's salary from a four-year-old TV show? An article from The Hollywood Reporter explains certain aspects of Smollett's deal with 21st Century Fox which may provide answers to that question.
The publication writes:
Complicating Smollett's financials, however, is that his original Fox contract was a "360 deal.” That means it includes music elements similar to pacts for the stars of series like Glee. Under the deal, the studio controlled additional aspects of Smollett's musical career, and the actor-musician would earn additional cash based on iTunes sales from Empire music and from live concerts — should the revenue have come in north of what his original guarantee included.
Despite the fame from starring on Empire, Smollett's music career has not been a huge commercial success. He released his debut studio album Sum of My Music on March 2, 2018.
That project has only sold 7,000 equivalent album units and did not break onto the Billboard 200 chart. His highest charting song on the Hot 100 (#42) is "Conqueror" with Estelle off the Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1. An argument could be made that a shocking publicity stunt would bring more attention to his music and increase his record sales/streams.
On the other hand, the CPD's claim that Smollett hired Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to "attack" him as a way to secure more money from Fox is being met with some skepticism. A person supposedly connected to Empire spoke to THR.
"I don't think it's true that he was unhappy with what he was being paid," stated the source. "His representatives never once called and there was no effort to renegotiate. He's never expressed any dissatisfaction."
Meanwhile, TMZ says several Empire cast members want Smollett written off the show. The gossip outlet has its own sources alleging Smollett's co-workers are worried the indicted actor is damaging the reputation of the show.
Jussie Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He was released on $100,000 bail. The 36-year-old California native is maintaining his innocence in the case. An Empire executive producer and 20th Century Fox Television publicly backed Smollett prior to his arrest.