Police Seek 2 People for Questioning in Jussie Smollett Assault Case

Jussie Smollett performs onstage during amfAR's Dance2 Cure event at Bardot in Hollywood on Dec. 1 2018

Sources close to the situation tell security for the "Empire" cast was increased last week after Fox Studios, in Chicago, received that threatening, homophobic letter addressed to Smollett.

"Today, no one was caught sleeping", Howard said.

Smollett transported himself to Northwestern University hospital and was listed in good condition.

Police are hoping someone will recognize the "potential persons of interest" so that officers can speak to them about the reported assault.

The Hollywood Reporter reported later in the day that Smollett said his attackers yelled "MAGA" or "Make America great again" statements during the incident - a reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan. Authorities said they are investigating the alleged attack as a hate crime.

Several stars also posted video messages, among them Empire creator Lee Daniels and TV personality and comedian Steve Harvey. He added, "You are better than that, we are better than that, America is better than that". "Whoever did this, do not forget that you are nothing but hate-filled cowards while Jussie's talent and activism will continue to shine a bright light on to the world for decades to come". Perhaps some will now consider abandoning a movement that has been tied to a rise in hate-based attacks on one hand, and denies the existence of even the systems of belief that perpetuate them on the other.

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Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union, Andy Cohen, Ellen DeGeneres, Lenny Kravitz, Tyler Perry, Steve Harvey offered words of support an encouragement.

In a 2018 AP interview, Smollett recalled shooting The Mighty Ducks in freezing-cold Minnesota, "the one thing that sticks in my mind specifically is I remember going to Prince's nightclub that he had, and performing there when I was 9 years old".

Politicians also took to social media, including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who called Smollett her friend. "My baby is resilient and love still lives in him". "Just for being? The fact his presence on this earth would be perceived as a threat to anyone only shows the magnitude of their fear and confusion", she writes.

"We ALL have a responsibility to rise up against the ignorance and hate out there", Shonda Rhimes tweeted.

"Empire" is shot in Chicago and is now in production.

Bobby Rush, a Democratic congressman from Chicago, issued a statement calling on the agency to conduct "an immediate and sweeping civil rights investigation into the racist and homophobic attack".

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