Chicago police say that media reports about Jussie Smollett’s attack being a hoax have not been confirmed and are inaccurate.
The Chicago Police Department issued a statement Thursday in response to local reports that claimed the Jan. 29 attack against Smollett was staged by the “Empire” actor and the two “persons of interest” being interviewed by the police.
“Media reports about the ‘Empire’ incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives,” said Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi on Twitter. Chicago Police “Supt. Eddie Johnson has contacted ABC 7 Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”
Media reports anout 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. pic.twitter.com/iSO5YFv452— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 15, 2019
Earlier Thursday, the Chicago police announced that the two people who were allegedly in the area where the attack against Smollett occurred had been identified and were being questioned. According to tweets by Guglielmi, “they are not considered suspects at this time, as they are currently being questioned by detectives.”
The Jan. 29 attack, which police have described as a possible hate crime, involved two people allegedly approaching the 36-year-old actor and musician while yelling racist and homophobic slurs. Smollett is openly gay and plays a gay character on “Empire.”
After that update, ABC 7 Chicago’s Rob Elgas reported that the attack was a hoax staged by Smollett and the two men “allegedly because his character was being written out of the show ‘Empire.’ ” Elgas also reported that Smollet “was a no-show” for interviews with the detectives Thursday.
“The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of ‘Empire’ is patently ridiculous,” said 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment in a statement. “He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”
Representatives for Smollett have also disputed reports that he did not show up for an interview with the police.
“Today Jussie did answer routine follow-up questions for Chicago Police Department and continues to cooperate,” they said in a statement.
Also on Thursday, Smollett talked about the alleged attack for the first time publicly in an interview on “Good Morning America” with Robin Roberts. He told her that “people need to hear the truth.”
“Everybody has their own idea. Some are healing and some are hurtful, but I just want young people, young members of the LGBTQ community, young, black children, to know how strong that they are,” Smollett said.