Jussie Smollett reportedly faked his attack, according to local media sources.
ABC 7 Chicago is now reporting that the two men police have taken in for questioning allegedly staged the attack, with Jussie, all because Jussie’s character was being written out of Empire.
Multiple sources have told ABC7 Eyewitness News that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack allegedly because Smollett was being written off of “Empire.”
A source familiar with the investigation told the ABC7 I-Team that Smollett failed to appear for an interview with detectives earlier Thursday, but has since spoken with police.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson contacted ABC7 to say they are continuing to treat Smollett as a victim and the investigation remains ongoing.
Chicago police told ABC News, “Police are investigating whether the two individuals committed the attack – or whether the attack happened at all.”
Smollett released a statement Thursday evening, saying, “Today Jussie did answer routine followup questions for Chicago Police Department and continues to cooperate.”
Smollett’s representatives said he is not being written off “Empire.”
Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment released a statement saying, “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.”
A source briefed on the Smollett investigation confirmed to ABC News that Chicago police are questioning the two persons of interest — one of whom has appeared on “Empire.”
The law enforcement official also told ABC News that the homes of the persons of interest were raided Wednesday night. Police removed shoes, electronic devices and other items they believe could help them determine if the two people played any role in the assault.
BREAKING: Multiple soucres tell @ABC7Chicago Eyewitness News Jussie Smollet and the 2 men who are being questioned by police staged the attack – allegedly because his character was being written out of the show Empire.
— Rob Elgas (@RobElgasABC7) February 15, 2019
— Brad Edwards (@tvbrad) February 15, 2019
Chicago media outlets are reporting that persons of interest in the Jussie Smollett case may have been involved in staging the 'Empire' star's attack https://t.co/9LKRLDn50J
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 15, 2019
Update: Police say they can not confirm ABC 7 Chicago’s report.
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
To safeguard the investigation, details about the case including timelines & backgrounds of those being questioned by police will not be released or commented on while detectives question persons of interest. Media reports of investigative details cannot be confirmed at this time pic.twitter.com/I1ug6u53E9
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 14, 2019
Update #2: Fox has issued a statement denying reports Jussie would be written off the show.
BREAKING: Fox has released a statement firmly standing behind the actor:
“The idea that Jussie Smollet 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.”
— Zach Stafford (@ZachStafford) February 15, 2019