Chicago police say they have arrested two men in connection to the alleged assault on Empire star Jussie Smollett.
In a statement released Friday, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, “detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime.”
The two men, who have yet to be identified by police, were declared “potential suspects” and were booked on battery. They have not yet been charged.
However, TMZ reports that the men were two extras on Empire, identifying them as brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo. Police have not confirmed this detail.
While police say there is no evidence of the attack, they are also not saying it is a hoax. On Thursday, they denied reports that claimed police believed Smollett and the men had staged the attack.
Smollett has maintained his story from the beginning, revealing that he was attacked in Chicago on January 29 by two masked men. Smollett said the attack occurred around 2 a.m. and that the man assaulted him, poured bleach on him and placed a noose around his neck. Smollett identified the men as both being white, although the suspects identified in TMZ’s report are both black. He added that they screamed, “this is MAGA country” when they ran off.
Smollett’s ribs were fractured in the alleged attack. Police have been investigating the incident as a possible hate crime against the 36-year-old star, who is black and openly gay.
In an interview with Robin Roberts that aired Thursday, Smollett said that the attack “changed” him.
“I don’t subscribe to the idea everything happens for a reason,” he said. “But I do subscribe to the idea that we have the right and the responsibility to make something meaningful out of the things that happen to us, good and bad.”
He also said he hesitated to report the attack to police.
“We live in a society where as a gay man you are considered somehow to be weak and I’m not weak,” he said. “I am not weak and we as a people are not weak.”
See his interview below: