Chicago police are denying reports that they believe the racist and homophobic attack against Jussie Smollett was staged.
Shortly after reports surfaced that police were questioning two persons of interest in the case, multiple reports claimed police believe the racist and homophobic attack against the actor was staged because his EMPIRE character was being written off the show.
Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago police spokesman denied the reports on Twitter.
“Media reports [about] the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives,” he wrote. “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.”
On Thursday, Rob Elgas of ABC 7 in Chicago reported that “multiple sources” alleged Jussie Smollett and staged the incident because his character was being written off of the FOX series, EMPIRE. Brad Edwards, a reporter at CBS Chicago, wrote about a source who said investigators believed the “non-cooperating 2 witnesses are co-conspirators in a potentially staged attack.”
FOX denied the notion that Smollett’s character was being written off of the show and continues to stand behind the actor.
“The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of ‘Empire’ is patently ridiculous,” the network said in a statement on Thursday. “He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”
“He’s been very cooperative and very consistent,” Smollett’s publicist, Pamela Sharp, said of the “ridiculous rumors.”
Other reports suggested that the two men brought in for questioning were the same ones caught on surveillance tape on January 30.
“Media reports of investigative details cannot be confirmed at this time,” Guglielmi said on Thursday.
Jussie Smollett confirmed his belief that the two men caught in the footage were responsible for his attack during an interview with Good Morning America that aired on Thursday morning.