US actor Jussie Smollett staged a fake attack on himself because he was “dissatisfied with his salary”, the Chicago Police have said.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a news conference that he “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”.
Mr Smollett is charged with filing a false police report after he said he was the victim of a homophobic attack earlier this year.
According to the police, the 36-year-old actor reportedly paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack.
In a scathing news conference on Thursday, Supt Johnson said the actor committed a crime “to further his own profile”.
He said Mr Smollett had betrayed the city of Chicago, and said “this publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve.
The “hoax”, he said, “received national attention for weeks,” and may deter future hate crime victims from coming forward for fear that their allegations may be met with scepticism.
He called upon the actor “to apologise to this city that he smeared”.
“Celebrities, news commentators, and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor,” he said, with palpable anger as he spoke.
“I’m left hanging my head and asking why,” he said, describing Mr Smollett’s actions as a “slap in the face” to Chicagoans.
On Wednesday his lawyers said they would “mount an aggressive defence”.