"Empire" star Jussie Smollett is now considered a suspect after previously telling police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, according to Chicago authorities.

The 36-year-old performer told Chicago police last month that he was assaulted by two men who beat him, placed a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him as they yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him.


In a later interview with police, Smollett said the suspects shouted the pro-Trump phrase “MAGA country” during the ambush.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE called the attack “horrible,” when asked about it shortly after reports surfaced.

But CNN reported Sunday that officials now believe the actor and singer staged the assault himself, paying two men who were arrested during the investigation.

"We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation," the Chicago Police Department said in a statement. "We've reached out to the Empire cast member's attorney to request a follow-up interview."

A spokesman for Smollett told ITK the actor's team had no comment at this time.

Representatives at Fox’s “Empire” didn’t immediately return ITK’s request for comment. 

A slew of high-profile lawmakers and 2020 White House hopefuls had spoken out in support of Smollett following his allegations.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCalifornia poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations Poll: Biden holds five-point lead over Warren among New York Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) had called the alleged attack a "modern day lynching" in a tweet on the day news of Smollett's claims to police broke. "No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate," Harris said at the time.

When asked earlier this week about developments in the case, Harris said, "I think that the facts are still unfolding, and I’m very concerned about the initial allegation that he made about what might have happened."

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Poll: 33 percent of voters undecided on who won third Democratic debate Jon Bon Jovi: Booker would 'do an amazing job' as president MORE made similar statements, dubbing the alleged attack a "lynching." The New Jersey Democrat later said he would withhold judgement until "all the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources."

Before news of Smollett being named a suspect broke on Wednesday, the team behind "Empire," 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment, released a statement of support for the cast member. 

“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set,” the studio said, denying reports that Smollett had been written off the show.

Updated at 5:58 p.m.