- Two brothers were arrested in connection to a reported hate attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett that occurred last month in Chicago.
- The Chicago Police Department confirmed to INSIDER that the men were taken into custody as suspects in connection to the attack, in which Smollett told police he was beaten by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.
- Smollett’s story was subject to intense scrutiny as widespread reports suggested he had misled police, though officials denied any wrongdoing by the actor.
Two men were arrested in connection to a reported hate attack on “Empire” Jussie Smollett that occurred last month in Chicago.
The Chicago Police Department confirmed to INSIDER that two brothers of Nigerian descent were taken into custody at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport as suspects in connection to the attack, in which Smollett told police he was beaten by two men. No charges have been brought against the suspects at this time.
Chicago Police said in a statement January 30 that it was investigating a “possible racially charged assault and battery” involving an “Empire” cast member, but didn’t name Smollett at that time.
According to TMZ, Smollett arrived in Chicago late Monday and went to a Subway for something to eat early on Tuesday morning. As he was leaving the restaurant, two men approached him and one yelled, “Aren’t you that f—– Empire n—–?,” sources connected to Smollett told TMZ.
The source also reportedly told TMZ that the two men were white and wearing ski masks, and after pouring bleach on Smollett, one of them yelled, “This is MAGA country,” before the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck, according to police.
The two suspects mark a significant development in the case.
Confusion surrounding the case
However, officer Carroll Michael denied that the police department is treating Smollett as anything but a victim, and said reports to the contrary were false.
“False report charges, huh?” Michael told INSIDER. “We said multiple times, he is still considered a victim.”
The case grew more confusing when a report by WLS-TV claimed that police were investigating whether or not Smollett, an openly gay actor and musician, who plays Jamal Joseph Lyon on the hit television show, staged the attack because he was being written off the television show.
In a statement sent to INSIDER, Fox Television and Fox Entertainment denied the report, calling it “patently ridiculous.”
Sarah Grey and Jacob Shamsian contributed reporting for this article.
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