Chicago police are pushing back on reports that alleged attack against Empire actor Jussie Smollett was staged.
According to local media in Chicago, investigators are questioning two men — believed to be extras on Empire — about their possible role in Smollett’s attack. One theory, according to Rob Elgas of Chicago’s ABC7 is that Smollett and the two other men staged the attack “because [Smollett’s] character was being written out of the show.” Brad Edwards of CBS Chicago filed a similar report, citing a source who said investigators believe the “non-cooperating 2 witnesses are co-conspirators in a potentially staged attack.”
The two men in question were picked up on Wednesday, shortly after they arrived back from Nigeria. Multiple bottles of bleach and a red hat were found in a subsequent search of the men’s home, according to TMZ.
A spokesperson for the Chicago police department has since pushed back on the reports. “We have no evidence to support their reporting and the supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate,” Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet.
In its own statement, FOX — the home of Empire — said “the idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of Empire is patently ridiculous. He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”
Smollett initially told police that he was attacked by two men outside a Subway restaurant in Chicago during the early morning hours of January 29th. The 36-year-old actor, who is openly gay, described the assailants as white men wearing ski masks, who asked Smollett if he was “that f***ot Empire n*****?” before attacking him with a rope and bleach. As they fled the scene the men yelled, “This is MAGA country!” according to Smollett.
This is a developing story…