Jussie Smollett attack: Chicago police share photos of people of interest after 'racist and homophobic' incident

Actor was assaulted by two men, described as white and wearing ski masks, who abused him with racist and homophobic language before proceeding to attack him 

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 31 January 2019 09:49 GMT
Security camera footage appears to have led to a breakthrough with the case.
Security camera footage appears to have led to a breakthrough with the case. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Chicago police have shared stills from surveillance footage that shows two people they would like to speak to about the attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett.

The actor was the victim of what police are investigating as a possible hate crime. Smollett's attackers, who were described as white and male, approached him by "yelling out racial and homophobic slurs" then hit him in the face, poured bleach on him and put a rope around his neck, the actor said.

Smollett and his music manager told the police they were on the phone with each other during the alleged attack, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told CNN.

His manager said that he heard the attackers shout "this is MAGA country", in reference to Donald Trump's infamous presidential campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again".

Both attackers fled the scene. Smollet took himself to hospital and was in "good condition" in the hours following, according to authorities.

Investigators have since located a surveillance camera that shows two people who are now wanted for questioning. They have not yet found still images or video of the actual incident, police said on Tuesday 29 January.

The assault took place jsut a week after Fox studios received a threatening, homophobic letter addressed to Smollett. Police said it was sent on 22 January, and that the letter was laced with a powdery substance believed to be Tylenol. They are currently attempting to determine whether there is a link between the letter and the Tuesday attack.

Since the attack, a number of celebrities have condemned the two men and offered words of support to Smollett, including his Empire co-star Taraji P Henson, Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Campbell, Terry Crews and Ariana Grande.

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