January 31, 2019
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago police said on Wednesday they would soon release images of “persons of interest” in the assault of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in which two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs and wrapped a rope around his neck.
The 36-year-old African-American actor, who is gay, was not seriously hurt in the Tuesday incident, which police were treating as a possible hate crime.
The images came from a surveillance camera near the attack, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted.
The two men approached Smollett on the street in the early hours of Tuesday, yelling racial and homophobic slurs, then hit him in the face, poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him and wrapped a rope around his neck before fleeing, police said.
A representative for Smollett did not respond to requests for comment.
“Empire,” a hip-hop musical drama series, from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc premiered on television in 2015. Its lead actress, Taraji P. Henson, won a Golden Globe Award in 2016 for her role and the show has received multiple Emmy Award nominations. Smollett plays the character Jamal Lyon, a member of the family that is the focus of the show.
(Reporting by Karen Pierog; writing by Andrew Hay; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Lisa Shumaker)