Who Are Jussie Smollett's Attackers? New Details About The Men Arrested For The Attack On The 'Empire' Star

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Who Are Jussie Smollett's Attackers? New Details About The Men Arrested For The Attack On The 'Empire' Star

Fans of the show Empire were shocked in January when they heard that star Jussie Smollet, who portrays Jamal on the show, was attacked in what appeared to be a hate crime. Smollet said he was returning to his Chicago apartment on the evening of Jan. 29 when two men assaulted him, doused him with an unknown substance yelled anti-gay epithets at him, and tied a noose around his neck.

In the weeks since the attack, Chicago authorities have sought answers. Now they have spoken with two “persons of interest” about the crime. But questions are lingering about what actually happened last night and who is telling the truth about the attack.

Who are Jussie Smollett's attackers and why did they do it? Read on to learn more.

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1. He was assaulted on his way home.

On Jan. 29, Smollett was walking home from a sub shop after getting some sandwiches when he was attacked by two men on the street. Smollett told police that the two men yelled "'Empire' fa***t" and "'Empire' n***er” while hitting him. They also poured an unknown liquid on his and tied a rope in a noose around his neck.

The men also allegedly said “This is MAG country” to the actor as they attacked him.

2. Smollett waited an hour to call the police.

Immediately after the attack, Smollett returned to his apartment, where a friend connived to him to call the police. He waiting almost an hour to call them, something he says was due to pride. 

“There is a level of pride there. We live in a society where as a gay man you are considered somehow to be weak and I am not weak. I am not weak and we as a people are not weak.”

Police arrived and spoke to him in his home before taking his sweater and the rope as evidence in the investigation. Smollett went to the hospital and was treated and released with minor injuries.

3. It's possible it was a hate crime.

Police have been investigating the assault as a possible hate crime due to the use of racist and homophobic language during the attack. Smollett is himself gay, as is the character he plays on Empire. In later interviews, Smollett also wondered if his outspoken opposition to the current president was a cause for the attack.

He told Good Morning America, “ I come really hard against 45.”

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4. There was some doubt about his story.

At some point, rumors began to circulate that the attack had been staged or was an attempt for Smollett to get attention. Some people raised questions because Smollett didn’t turn his phone over to the police right away, and he asked the police not to use their body cameras inside his apartment. The actor addressed that criticism on Good Morning America. 

“They wanted me to give my phone to the tech for three to four hours. And I'm sorry but, I'm not going to do that because I have private pictures and videos and phone numbers, my partner's number, my family's numbers, my cast mates' numbers, my private emails, private songs, voice memos, pictures, videos…” As for reports of a fake attack, Chicago police's chief communications officer said, "We have no evidence to support their reporting."

5. There was no sign of the attack on surveillance footage.

Without witnesses, Smollett worried that there would be no chance of even finding out who attacked him, However, he had taken note of the presence of a surveillance camera in the area. When police got the footage from it, there was no sign of the attack, however, because the camera had been pointing away from the location.

The footage did reveal two men walking on the same street where the attack took place. Smollett told Good Morning America that he believed those two men to be his assailants and was hopeful that police would find them.

6. Two men have been arrested.

As of Feb. 15, two men have been taken in for questioning in the attack. At this time, police have not released their names.

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Police confirmed that the two men are brothers and are from Nigeria. They were approached by police at O’Hare airport after flying in from Nigeria on the evening of Feb. 13. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that one of the persons of interest had appeared on Smollett’s series Empire but would not give more information about that connection.

7. Smollet says he'll never be the same.

Smollett says he’ll never be the same after these events. He hopes that there is still some footage of the attack.

“I want that video found so badly because, for probably four reasons. Number one, I want them to find the people that did it. Number two, I want them to stop being able to say 'alleged' attack. Number three, I want them to see that I fought back. I want a little gay boy who might watch this to see that I fought the f*** back. They ran off. I didn’t.”

This situation is developing and police have not released any new information about the persons of interest.

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a co-host of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.