Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson denounced reports by local media that Empire actor Jussie Smollett allegedly helped to plan the homophobic, racist attack against him in January. In a tweet, the chief communications officer for the CPD said reports calling the attack a hoax are “unconfirmed by case detectives” and that the sources fueling media speculation about the attack are “uninformed and inaccurate.”
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
The statement comes after a local Chicago ABC affiliate reported that Smollett helped plan his own attack because he was being written off the Fox show Empire.
In a statement to Deadine, 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment debunked rumors that Smollett would be written off the show.
“The idea that Jussie Smollet has been, or would be, written off of Empire is patently ridiculous," the statement reads. "He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”
The alleged attack occurred in the early hours of January 29 and left Smollett with a fractured rib. Smollett told investigators that his attackers yelled “MAGA country” during the attack, referencing Donald Trump’s popular campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” TMZ’s original report of the attack also said that Smollett had received intimidating mail at Fox studios that said “Die Black fag.”
Smollett’s representatives have previously fought back against rumors Smollett was lying about the attack.
“Jussie is the victim here, which has been stated by the Superintendent of Police,” the statement reads. “Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police. Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie’s account of what happened that night consistent and credible.”
Smollett’s statement followed reports that he had handed over records to police that were “heavily redacted.” At the time, Smollett’s team said that any redactions were done to “protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack.”
A video of Smollett with a rope around his neck after the attack exists, but police say they will not release the footage until the investigation is finished, according to The Advocate.
This story is breaking and will be updated.