On Tuesday, Olabinjo (Ola) and Abimbola (Bola) Osundairo filed a defamation and false light lawsuit against the attorneys for Empire star Jussie Smollett. The Osundairo brothers claim Smollett directed them to carry out the fake hate crime against him, but Smollett’s attorneys continue to insist Smollett is innocent and did not lie to police about the matter. Smollett’s attorneys responded to the lawsuit with derision, calling it “comical.”
“On January 25, 2019, Mr. Smollett told Plaintiffs, in private, that he needed a favor from them: they were to help him stage a social media hoax and pretend to attack him. Mr. Smollett’s motivation was simple. 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,” the lawsuit states.
After the Osundairo brothers spoke with police and testified before a grand jury, Smollett faced 16 felony counts of a false report, but those charges were mysteriously dropped late last month.
“Mr. Smollett’s attorneys, faced with an outraged public, did not retreat after their success. Instead they doubled down, not simply affirming that Mr. Smollett was a wholly innocent victim, but that (among other accusations) [the Osundairo brothers] unequivocally led a criminally homophobic, racist, and violent attack against Mr. Smollett,” the lawsuit recalls. “Defendants made these comments knowing they were untrue to distract from Mr. Smollett’s farce and to promote themselves and the Geragos & Geragos Law Firm.”
Attorney Tina Glandian made many statements trashing the Osundairos, even though the charges against Smollett had already been dropped. The lawsuit argues that “Ms. Glandian’s statements indicating Plaintiffs actually criminally battered Mr. Smollett without his consent are patently false and defamatory, as Mr. Smollett originated, planned, and orchestrated the attack.”
The suit focuses on three massive lies Glandian told about the brothers.
First, her insistence that the Osundairo brothers attacked Smollett was a serious matter. “Ms. Glandian, in stating that Plaintiffs criminally battered Mr. Smollett, implicitly proffered that Plaintiffs are guilty of conspiring to give false statements and/or giving false statements to Chicago Police, and she specifically stated such in media appearances.”
Smollett’s attorney also insisted that the Osundairo brothers wore “whiteface” on the day of the attack — a claim that is “patently false and defamatory, as neither wore ‘whiteface’ or pretended in any way to be Caucasian.”
“Ms. Glandian’s statements were made after the close of Mr. Smollett’s criminal case, did not serve any legal function, and was not a requirement of her job as a defense attorney,” the lawsuit argues. “Indeed, Ms. Glandian’s statements have caused considerable damage to Plaintiffs’ careers, as they have lost talent agent contracts and career opportunities.”
In fact, the suggestion that they carried out a “whiteface” hate crime has made the brothers “feel unsafe and alienated in their local Chicago community” because “Glandian, a very famous attorney, falsely and publicly stated Plaintiffs have committed a gruesome hate crime, lied under oath, and intentionally misled CPD.”
Yet Smollett’s attorney did not just stop at this. She also spread the malicious rumor that the Osundairos’ brand, “Team Abel,” involves illegal Nigerian steroid trafficking. In reality, Team Abel “advises and demonstrates how to strengthen and build muscle while maintaining a healthy, steroid-free diet and fitness regimen,” the lawsuit explains.
Yet “Glandian falsely stated that Plaintiffs are involved in ‘illegal’ Nigerian steroid trafficking, and that these steroids help clients lose weight.” These “false and defamatory statements” have caused the brothers real damage, “including economic damages, damages to their reputation, and/or damages to current and prospective business relations.”
Smollett’s attorney told one more disgusting and dangerous lie about Bola Osundairo. “Glandian inferred that Bola Osundairo and Mr. Smollett engaged, at least briefly, in homosexual acts together. These statements were made to the third-party press and public,” the lawsuit states.
Bola Osundairo is not gay and he was dating a woman at the time, according to the lawsuit. “Bola Osundairo has never engaged in any sexual acts with Mr. Smollett, thus Ms.Glandian’s statements are patently false.”
Yet the claim that Osundairo had sex with Smollett is explosive for other reasons. The Osundairo brothers are Nigerian-American and they have family in Nigeria. “Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria, which can result in 14 years of imprisonment. If the accused is married, the punishment is death by stoning. Research by Pew indicates that 99% of Nigerians believe homosexuality should not be tolerated,” the lawsuit states.
Therefore, “Ms. Glandian’s globally broadcasted statements that Bola Osundairo is homosexual endangers him and the lives of his Nigerian family.”
As news of the lawsuit broke on Tuesday, Mark Geragos (managing partner of Geragos & Geragos) and Tina Glandian slammed the defamation suit as “comical.”
“At first we thought this comical legal document was a parody,” Geragos and Glandian wrote. “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.”
JUST IN: Statement from Jussie Smollett's attorney's Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian regarding Ola and Abel Osundairo's federal defamation lawsuit against Geragos and Glandian: pic.twitter.com/Zd4LKGfiRF
— Brendon Geoffrion (@tv_brendon) April 23, 2019
It seems Glandian’s audacity knows no bounds. When Smollett’s hate hoax story was exposed, she continued to spread the lies, even accusing the Osundairo brothers of using “whiteface,” trafficking in steroids, and having sex with Smollett. Now, when the Osundairos are fighting back to restore their reputation, she dismisses the lawsuit as “comical.” On the contrary, these Nigerian brothers have excellent claims.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.