Brothers Abimbola "Bola" and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, Smollett's accomplices in the act, finally broke their silence to the media about the hoax for the first time in an interview now streaming on Fox Nation.
"A friend of mine had sent me a screenshot of the front page of, I believe a TMZ article, that showed that Jussie had been attacked. I ran to my brother and was like, ‘𝒀𝒐, 𝒎𝒊𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒂𝒄𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒅. 𝑾𝒆 𝒅𝒊𝒅 𝒊𝒕,’" Bola recounted in the five-part series. "Now we've secured the payment of our $500 that he owes us because he only wrote us a check of [sic] $3,500, and that was the day we were supposed to leave for Nigeria."
(Jussie Smollett's $3,500 check to Abimbola "Bola" and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo. (Fox Nation/Screengrab)
Bola said he and Ola were heading out of the country for an audition for a popular TV series at the time.
"Things were on the up and up for us. Things were looking pretty good," Ola said.
Smollett alleged the "White supremacists" - or the brothers in disguise, rather - threw chemicals on him and put a noose around his neck, while shouting racially and homophobically-charged slurs and telling him he was in "MAGA country."
But the identities of the men behind the masks slowly began to unravel.
"You know Eddie Johnson [former Chicago Police Superintendent] said he could tell in the footage that you guys are Black, right?" an off-camera interviewer asked the brothers.
"Really?" Ola asked. "I feel like he's just saying that… we were in character the whole time."
"So you think you guys are believable White supremacists?" the interviewer pressed.
"One hundred percent! Look at me," Bola laughed. Chicago Police released images of the incident shortly after it took place, but Johnson said the initially released image of two silhouettes walking shoulder-to-shoulder down the snowy Chicago street was not the best image they had at the time.
The other showed one brother wearing a red hat – presumably a MAGA hat.
"I didn't want people to focus on that," Bola said upon reflecting, later explaining that Black and LGBTQ+ communities would have been outraged. "Sometimes, once the toothpaste gets out of the tube, you can get it back in there."