Police have denied reports that they believe Empire star Jussie Smollett staged his attack.
The actor claimed he was targeted in a racist and homophobic assault last month with Chicago police announcing they were investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Two reports have since suggested Smollett could have staged the incident due to fears he was being written out of the US television series.
Detectives working the case has now issued a statement denying this. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said: “Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.” Guglielmi added that there is “no evidence to support” ABC7Chicago’s reporting”.
Fox, the network which produces Empire, released a statement to say Smollett was “core” to the show and was not being written out.
Smollett, who is black and came out as gay in 2015, is alleged to have been attacked by men who shouted homophobic and racist abuse in Chicago on January 29.
The 36-year-old made a tearful appearance on Good Morning America this week and said he had been “forever changed” by the alleged attack.
He said: “I will never be the man who this didn’t happen to”. “I am forever changed and I don’t subscribe to the idea that everything happens for a reason, but I do subscribe to the idea that we have the right and responsibility to make something meaningful out of the things that happen to us, good and bad.”
Asked what message he wanted to send by speaking about the attack, he replied: “I want young people, young members of the LGTBQ community, young black children, to know how strong they are, to know the power they hold in their little pinky.”
Smollett has starred in Fox’s musical drama Empire since 2015. He plays Jamal, the gay son of a music mogul, played by Terrence Howard. No arrests have been made in connection with the alleged attack