On the witness stand Monday, Smollett told the jury how he grew up in a close-knit family of six children and started performing as a child actor before getting more into music. He said he “came to terms with my sexuality” in his early 20s, when he got involved in charity organizations, including a group that fights AIDS in the Black community.
He said he auditioned for a role on “Empire” of a singer who is gay because he had never seen a Black man portrayed that way. By season five, Smollett said he was being paid $100,000 per episode.
Smollett said he met Abimbola Osundairo in 2017 at a club, where he learned Osundairo also worked on the set of “Empire.” He said the two men did drugs together and went to a bathhouse, where Smollett said they “made out.” Over time, he said the two men did more drugs together and participated in sex acts together. Osundairo testified last week that he and Smollett didn’t have a sexual relationship.