Chicago, Illinois- A spokesperson for the Chicago Police told the Los Angeles Blade that reports by Chicago media outlets WLS-TV (ABC7) and WBBM-TV 2 (CBS Local) claiming that police investigators believe actor Jussie Smollett and the non-cooperating witnesses in the alleged attack of Smollett last month “potentially staged the attack,” are false.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson reached out to both stations and went on the record stating that “his investigators have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”
Earlier Thursday afternoon, WBBM-TV, a CBS affiliate reported that sources had told CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards that police are investigating whether Smollett and two other persons of interest “potentially staged the attack.”
Similar allegations were made to Chicago’s WLS-TV ABC7, which reported that sources allege the attack was staged because the star was being written off of the show “Empire.” The station also reported that Smollett did not appear for an interview with police earlier in the day.
A spokesperson for Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment, which produces the Chicago based show of which Smollett is a cast member of, released the following statement, disputing the reports; “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.”
In sit-down interview, which aired Thursday morning on ABC Television’s Good Morning America, Smollett, 36, who is black and openly gay, addressed rumors with ABC News senior journalist Robin Roberts about the incident; “For me, the main thing was the idea that I somehow switched up my story, you know? And that somehow maybe I added a little extra trinket, you know, of the MAGA thing,”
Smollett said. “I didn’t need to add anything like that. They called me a faggot, they called me a nigger. There’s no which way you cut it. I don’t need some MAGA hat as the cherry on top of some racist sundae.”
Family members had told various media outlets earlier that they were confident police would identify and arrest the actor’s attackers.
“Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie’s account of what happened that night consistent and credible. Superintendent Johnson has been clear from day one that Jussie is a victim. We are continuing to work closely with the Chicago PD and remain confident that they will find Jussie’s attackers and bring them to justice,” the family said.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the news came after a report by CBS 2 Chicago said the police raided the home of two persons of interest in the attack on Wednesday night. The local news outlet reports that both persons of interest are of Nigerian descent and have appeared as extras on the show.
CBS Chicago reporter Charles De Mar tweeted on Thursday that he “asked family why they think police picked the two brothers up for questioning and they replied by saying the men left for Nigeria the day of the attack.”
The Los Angeles Blade was unable to reach representatives for both the ABC7 and CBS2 for comment.
~This is a developing story~
Reporting by The Hollywood Reporter and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade.