Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett orchestrated a “phony attack” in order to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”

Johnson said at a news conference Thursday that Smollett also sent a racist and homophobic threatening letter to himself at the Fox studio lot before the attack.

He said Smollett was dissatisfied with his salary.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT IS UNDER ARREST, IN CUSTODY OF CHICAGO POLICE

“I’m left hanging my head and asking why,” a visibly upset Johnson told reporters. “Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol…how can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city by making this false claim?”

He added, “Bogus police reports cause real harm.”

Following three weeks of mounting suspicions, Smollett, who is accused of filing a false police report, was charged Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct. He turned himself in at central booking early Thursday. If convicted, he is facing up to three years in prison.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT’S SIBLINGS DEFEND ‘EMPIRE’ ACTOR, BLAST MEDIA AS ‘IRRESPONSIBLE’

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested by Chicago police on Thursday.

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested by Chicago police on Thursday.
(Chicago PD)

Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m on Jan. 29. The actor, who is black and gay, said they beat him, made racist and homophobic comments, poured some unknown chemical substance on him and looped a rope around his neck before fleeing.

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Police say the investigation shifted after they questioned two brothers who were in the area that morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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