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Jussie Smollett: Police want to question two people over US actor attack

US actor Jussie SmollettImage copyright
Getty Images

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.

Image copyright
Chicago Police

Image caption

Chicago police have released this image of two “people of interest” in the case

Releasing the two images, Chicago police said surveillance video of the attack has not yet been found, but that more cameras are being reviewed.

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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.

Media captionAttacked actor ‘has tasted brutality of hatred’

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.”

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Instagram post by janellemonae: THIS HATE CRIME against our brother @jussiesmollett is proof that no matter how famous you may be it still does not protect you from vicious racist homophobes !! AND It is still a risk daily to be a BLACK , OUT , and PROUD human being . I am sending so much love to you Jussie . Praying for your healing . Thank you for being such an inspiration to me  soooooo mannnnny people . Thank you for inspiring us to walk in our truth . Thank you for choosing freedom over fear . I will continue to walk BOLD , BLACK ,  PROUD in your honor always . ??With love from your bi/pan/queer/free ass mothafucka sis This pic is of me thanking him for sending flowers after the RS article (which gave me great anxiety btw). What a kind kind kind soul .Image Copyright janellemonae
janellemonae

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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