Images of ‘persons of interest’ have been released following a hate crime against Jussie Smollett.
The Empire star – who came out publicly as gay back in 2015 – was approached by two men wearing ski masks at 2am on Tuesday morning.
The attackers then placed a noose around his neck, began to punch him, and poured an ‘unknown substance’ over him during the unprovoked attack, according to Chicago police.
They also hurled homophobic and racist slurs at him, and according to TMZ yelled “This is MAGA country,” referring to the Make America Great Again acronym often used by President Trump.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” a police spokesperson stated.
Jussie was able to carry himself to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for his injuries. It’s been reported that he is in good condition and fully cooperating with Chicago police.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi has now tweeted that “potential persons of interest” who were in the area of the attack are wanted for questioning. He also shared CCTV photos of the two people.
Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member. While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed pic.twitter.com/xJDDygtocr
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 31, 2019
“Hours ago Chicago Police detectives located a surveillance camera that shows potential persons of interest wanted for questioning in reference to the assault & battery of Empire actor,” he said.
“While [the] video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed.”
Jussie has appeared in Fox’s musical drama Empire since it began in 2015, playing Jamal Lyon, the gay son of a music mogul. He has also starred on the big screen in movies including Alien: Covenant and Marshall.