'Empire' production shut down temporarily by Fox

Production on Empire was temporarily suspended on Jan. 30 by 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment.

The shutdown of the Chicago-based series was not immediately related to the alleged attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett.

According to E! News, production of both Empire and the legal drama Proven Innocent, has been temporarily halted due to the arctic temperatures in Chicago.

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Fox has also increased security around the Empire production in Chicago, according to reports.

Smollett was attacked on Jan. 29 after arriving in Chicago from New York.

According to the Chicago police department, a 36-year-old male was allegedly approached by two unknown offenders who “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him.”

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According to the report, the offenders “battered” Smollett with their hands “about the face” before allegedly pouring “an unknown chemical substance on the victim.”

The report also notes that during the attack, “one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”

According to police, the offenders fled the scene, and the victim was self-transported to Northwestern Hospital.

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Chicago police say they’ve reviewed hundreds of hours of footage from downtown surveillance cameras but haven’t found footage yet of the alleged attack on Smollett.

The department said in a news release late Tuesday that detectives reviewed footage from privately-owned cameras near where Smollett says he was attacked and will broaden their search by reviewing footage from traffic cameras and public bus cameras.

Smollett told police he was walking downtown near the Chicago River at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday when two masked men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him, threw an “unknown substance” on him and put a rope around his neck.

The 36-year-old actor, who is black and gay and plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the Fox television show, took himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment.

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20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment released a statement about the attack.

“We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our EMPIRE family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. We send out love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice,” the statement read.

It continued: “The entire studio, network and production stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate – and especially against one of our own.”

—With files from the Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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