The Republican, Springfield, Mass.
Chicago police raided the home of two persons of interest in the reported attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. Both men are of Nigerian descent and worked as extras on “Empire,” CBS Chicago reported.
ABC-7 Eyewitness News in Chicago reported that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack because Smollett was being written off of “Empire.”
However, a Chicago police spokesman dismissed that ABC-7report and tweeted, “Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives. Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.” Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox denied that Smollet was being written off the show.
The “Empire” actor, who is black and openly gay, told police he was attacked on Jan. 29 by two people, who shouted racial and homophobic slurs and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. One of the alleged attackers reportedly put a rope around his neck. He was unable to provide a detailed description, saying his attackers were masked.
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday morning, Smollett branded as “ridiculous” speculation by critics that he fabricated the attack. It is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi revealed on social media that through “meticulous investigation … detectives have identified the persons of interest in the area of the alleged attack of the Empire cast member. These individuals are not yet suspects but were in area of concern and are being questioned.”
TMZ reported the two men were stopped by police at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
The FBI is assisting in the investigation after it was confirmed that an earlier threat was made against the actor in the form of a letter before the Jan. 29 incident.
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