Chicago Police police and Fox on Thursday night pushed back on two local media reports that emerged which said that investigators believe the Jussie Smollett attack was staged. The reports also said the attack was staged because Smollett’s character was being written off Empire.
Tweeted Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi: “Media reports anout (sic) 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.”
Fox released a statement as well: “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.”
CBS Chicago reported that there was a police raid at the home of the two persons of interest being questioned by Chicago Police.
Their lawyer told CBS Chicago that the men have worked as extras on Empire and are occasional gym buddies to Smollett: “They were actually detained at customs at O’Hare airport yesterday around 5:45 p.m. They had no idea what was going on, and they’ve been detained since then…When they first learned about what happened to him they were horrified. This is someone they know. This is someone they’ve worked with, so they don’t want to see somebody go through that…They are really baffled why they are people of interest…They really don’t understand how they even got information that linked them to this horrific crime, but they are not guilty of it.”
According to the station the men were returning from a trip to Nigeria when they were detained.