Chicago police said Thursday evening that reports about the alleged attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett being a hoax were "unconfirmed by case detectives."
Anthony Guglielmi, the chief communications officer for the Chicago Police Department (CPD), tweeted that “media reports anout [sic] the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.”
He also wrote that Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson “has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”
Guglielmi’s tweet followed a report on the matter from WLS-TV. The report came hours after Guglielmi tweeted that Chicago police detectives had identified persons of interest in the case. The individuals were not identified.
“Multiple sources have told ABC7 Eyewitness News that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack allegedly because Smollett was being written off of ‘Empire,’” WLS-TV reported.
Smollett, who is black and openly gay, told the Chicago Police Department that he was attacked by two men on Jan. 29 while walking home to his apartment. He alleged the men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him and poured an "unknown chemical substance" on him.
Responding officers, according to a police report, found Smollett with a rope hanging from his neck. Chicago police told Fox News it was a “small white rope, like the type you’d buy in a hardware store.”
Following the WLS-TV report, 20th Century Fox Television, which produces "Empire," and Fox Entertainment released a statement.
“The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of EMPIRE is patently ridiculous,” the statement said. “He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”
Chicago Police told Fox News that at one point they had at least 12 detectives on the case.
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah, Matt Finn and Sasha Savitsky contributed to this report.