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Police release images of men wanted in connection with attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett

Actor Jussie Smollett says he was attacked in the early hours on Tuesday morning. Credit: Chicago Police / AP

Police in Chicago have released images of two men they want to speak to in connection with an alleged homophobic and racist attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett.

The attack, which took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning as he walked home from a Subway outlet, saw the star have an “unknown chemical substance” thrown at him and a thin rope put around his neck. The suspects then fled.

In a statement to media, Smollett's agent said the men shouted "homophobic and racist," slurs at the 36-year-old as they carried out the "unprovoked," attack.

It is also alleged they told the actor he was in "MAGA country," in reference to Donald Trump's Make America Great Again slogan. The president has condemned the attack.

Jussie Smollett stars in Empire Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Smollett, who plays a gay character Jamal in the hit Fox show, has not spoken publicly about the incident, although his representative said on Wednesday that he is recovering at home.

In a statement, his family said: “Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning.

“His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice,” the family said.

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They thanked the public “for their prayers,” and said the family was “so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive."

“We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country,” the family said.

Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Officers in Chicago said they are still looking for CCTV footage of the incident after trawling through hundreds of hours worth of recordings.

On social media, celebrities have extended their support. Ariana Grande, Naomi Campbell and Janelle Monae have reportedly sent messages to the actor.