There is "no evidence" to support the claims
Police in Chicago have denied reports that an attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett was staged.
The actor alleged that he was attacked in a shocking racist and homophobic assault last month, with police later confirming that the incident was being investigated as a possible hate crime.
While new reports have suggested that Smollett may have staged the attack to allay fears that he was being written out of Empire, police have now categorically denied these claims.
In a statement, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said: “Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.”
While police spent Thursday interviewing two men of interest, Guglielmi said there is “no evidence” to support the claims, which have been detailed by outlets including ABC7.
Smollett, who came out as gay in 2015, was allegedly attacked by two men who hurled homophobic and racist abuse at him in Chicago on January 29.
Earlier this week, the 36-year-old star made an emotional appearance on Good Morning America and described how he had been “forever changed” by the alleged attack.
“I will never be the man who this didn’t happen to,” he said.
“I am forever changed and I don’t subscribe to the idea that everything happens for a reason, but I do subscribe to the idea that we have the right and responsibility to make something meaningful out of the things that happen to us, good and bad.”
The writers of Empire have also issued a statement to deny that he was being written out of the show.
“The writers of Empire have never planned or even discussed writing
@JussieSmollett off of the show,” they wrote.