Two people arrested over Empire star Jussie Smollett attack are released without charge

The actor was the victim of a homophobic and racist attack last month

Two people who were arrested in relation to an attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett have been released, Chicago police have confirmed.

Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi tweeted the news this morning (16 February) and confirmed that new evidence has been found in relation to the attack.

Guglielmi wrote: “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete.”

Last month, Smollett alleged that he was attacked in a shocking racist and homophobic assault, with police later confirming that the incident was being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Smollett gained fame for his portrayal of musician Jamal Lyon on Empire, which began in 2015. The same year, he came out as gay.

The actor was allegedly attacked by two men who yelled racist and homophobic abuse at him in Chicago on January 29.

In an emotional appearance on Good Morning America, the star said he was “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.”

However, earlier this week police denied reports that suggested the star may have staged the attack to allay fears he was being written out of Empire.

In a statement, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said: “Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.”

Writers of Empire also released a statement denying Smollett was being written out of the show.