UPDATE: Chicago Police detectives have located surveillance footage that “shows potential persons of interest wanted for questioning” in connection to the recent potential hate crime attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollet, according to Chicago Police Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi’s tweet on Wednesday. Guglielmi also shared two photos of the people of interest and stated that “more cameras are being reviewed.”
Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member. While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed pic.twitter.com/xJDDygtocr
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 31, 2019
Actor Jussie Smollett, best known for his work on Empire, was hospitalized in Chicago after an attack that authorities say was racist and homophobic, Entertainment Tonight reports.
Smollett is reportedly in good condition at a Chicago hospital. A representative for the actor did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
The Chicago Police Department issued a statement detailing the alleged attack and saying they are “treating it as a possible hate crime.” According to the report, a 36-year-old man, identified only as “a cast member of the television show Empire,” was approached by two people who “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him.”
The report continues: “The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.” Eventually, the alleged assailants fled and Smollett was reportedly able to take himself to a nearby hospital.
Chicago police and detectives are working to gather video that might capture the incident, while they’re also looking for possible witnesses and trying to establish an investigative timeline. Authorities are also asking people to come forward if they have any information about the attack.
“You didn’t deserve, nor anybody deserve, to have a noose put around your neck [or] to have bleach thrown on you,” Empire creator Lee Daniels said on Instagram. “You are better than that. America is better than that. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are because it shows that we are on an united front and no racist fuck can come in and do the things that they did to you. Hold your head up, Jussie. It’s just another fucking day in America.”
Smollett came out publicly as gay during a March 2015 appearance on Ellen just as Empire was taking off. “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in,” he said. “So that’s why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear, but it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world. And that’s where I’m at.”