Empire actor Jussie Smollett is refusing to be questioned by the Chicago Police Department and has hired the services of a crisis management firm amid reports he staged an attack on himself last month.
“There are no plans for Jussie Smollett to meet with Chicago police today,” Anna Kavanagh, a crisis manager at MediaPros24/7 said in a statement Monday. “Any news reports suggesting otherwise are inaccurate. Smollett’s attorneys will keep an active dialogue going with Chicago police on his behalf. We have no further comment today.”
Chicago police on Sunday said they requested a follow-up interview with Smollett due to “new evidence” they obtained that “shifted” their investigation into the 36-year-old’s alleged assault on January 29. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi would not comment on reports that Smollett orchestrated the attack and that a grand jury could hear the evidence. “We’re not confirming, denying or commenting on anything until we can talk to him and we can corroborate some information that we’ve gotten,” Guglielmi said.
Smollett, who is gay and black, told police that two masked men hurled racist and anti-gay slurs at him and doused him with an unknown chemical substance as he walked home from a sandwich shop at around 2:00 a.m. local time. The actor said his assailants placed a thin rope around his neck and shouted “This is MAGA country!” before running away.
In a statement to ABC News, attorneys for Smollett said their client was “angered” and “further victimized” by accusations that orchestrated the alleged assault.