Images of two “people of interest” have been released by police investigating a suspected hate attack on a US actor.
Jussie Smollett, known for the show Empire, was attacked by two people in Chicago earlier this week.
He was hit, had an “unknown chemical substance” poured on him and a rope was wrapped around his neck.
The suspects are reported to have shouted “racial and homophobic slurs” and Jussie says they referenced MAGA – the slogan Make America Great Again.
Releasing the two images, Chicago police said surveillance video of the attack has not yet been found, but that more cameras are being reviewed.
A police spokesperson tweeted that they were “taking this development seriously”.
Celebrities including Ariana Grande, Viola Davis, Naomi Campbell and Janelle Monae sent messages of support to Jussie after the attack.
Jussie hasn’t spoken since the attack, but his publicist has released a family statement to the news agency Reuters.
“Our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack,” it says.
“We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime.”
The creator of Empire, Lee Daniels, posted an emotional video on Instagram in the days after the attack.
He said: “You didn’t deserve, nor anybody deserves, to have a noose put around your neck.
“America is better than that. It starts at home. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are, because it shows that we are united.”
US comedian and presenter Steve Harvey also supported the actor with an Instagram video, saying: “This ain’t about sexual preference or nothing. This is about coming to the aid of another brother that has tasted the brutality of hatred and racism and bigotry.”
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