20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment, who produce Empire, are denying rumors that Jussie Smollett was going to be written off the Fox musical drama, in wake of the rumors that surfaced on Thursday claiming that the actor staged his recent attack.
Rumors circulated claiming that Smollett orchestrated his own attack in response to allegedly being written off Empire. However, the network and studio released a statement to ET, denying Smollett's character was being dropped from the show.
“The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of Empire is patently ridiculous," the joint statement reads. "He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”
A source close to Empire also tells ET that the theory that Smollett was being written off the show is absurd, as he is one of the leads on the hit program and is under contract. A second source also says rumors that he was being written off are “not true.”
Jussie Smollett Speaks Out on Attack: Some Things Being Said Are 'Absolutely Not True'
A source reiterates to ET that Smollett did meet with the Chicago Police Department on Thursday for routine follow up questions.
Additionally, after the rumors surfaced on various sites, Chicago PD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi took to Twitter to state that rumors of the attack being staged or a hoax are "unconfirmed" by the case detectives.
"Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives. Supt 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," the statement reads.
Media reports anout the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives. Supt 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. pic.twitter.com/iSO5YFv452
Guglielmi also released a statement to ET on Friday, Feb. 15, regarding the case. “Interrogations will resume today with the two individuals and their attorney. While we haven't found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is no evidence to say that this is a hoax," he said. "The alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect. For clarification, the two individuals interviewed are classified as potential suspects. Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime and we are working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues."
This news comes after Smollett made his first television appearance since the attack, appearing on Good Morning America to recount his horrible late January experience.
"I heard as I was crossing the intersection, I heard, ‘Empire!’ I don’t answer to Empire,” he recalled. "My name ain’t Empire. And I didn’t answer. I kept walking and then I heard ‘f****t Empire n****r’ so I turned around and said, ‘The f**k did you just say to me?’”
"It was so fast,” Smollett explained of his delayed reaction to the rope. “It felt like minutes, but it probably was like 30 seconds, honestly. I can’t tell you, honestly. I noticed the rope and I started screaming. I said, ‘There’s a f**king rope around my neck.’"