Jussie Smollett 'Used' Chicago, Says Tearful City Mayor Rahm Emanuel: 'If You Want to Get Paid More, Get an Agent'

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel lashed out at the Empire star Jussie Smollett, who was accused by the city's police of hoaxing a violent hate crime in which he portrayed himself as the victim to secure a better contract.

Emanuel appeared tearful during an interview with CNN's Don Lemon on Thursday night, defending his city's reputation and criticizing Smollett for the consequences of his alleged lie, suggesting that genuine claims of discrimination would now be cast into doubt.

"I'm upset about what he said about the city and the way he used the city…Our police officers took this as a very serious hate crime, and they dedicated the resources to deal with it as a hate crime," Emanuel said.

"But then you literally put doubt not only about the city but also…what about the person in a workplace facing…racial discrimination?

"What about the young man who is dealing with his own sexual orientation and is attacked for it in high school or in some school who's now going to doubt whether people will believe him?

"You have put all those real stories at risk for your fake story. That is not right. That is not right for Chicago, that is not right for what kind of city we are, because I know this city."

Emanuel continued: "You know, if you want to get paid more, get an agent. But don't use your sexual orientation, don't use your race, and have everybody's sympathies come to you, and it turns out none of that was true.

"And some young man in school is gonna be attacked. Somebody at work is gonna face discrimination. And everybody now is gonna have two doubts about whether that is true."

Smollett, 36, claimed that he was beaten by two men in January who also poured bleach on him, put a rope around his neck and said "This is MAGA country," a reference to the Trump campaign slogan "Make America Great Again."

The actor received an outpouring of sympathy and support, including from Democratic presidential candidates, over what he claimed was a racist and homophobic attack that left him "forever changed," he told ABC's Good Morning America in an interview.

Now Chicago police allege that Smollett paid $3,500 to brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, the two men they initially arrested as suspects, to stage the attack to gain public sympathy and negotiate a better salary with FOX, the network on which Empire airs.

Smollett, who is facing a felony charge of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report and was released on $100,000 bail after surrendering his passport, also allegedly sent a fake racist and homophobic letter to himself via FOX.

Chicago Police Department Chief Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said at a news conference that Smollett's actions "slap everyone in the city in the face" and that he "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."

But according to a statement from Smollett's lawyers sent to The Hollywood Reporter, he "fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing."