Early Tuesday morning, Empire star Jussie Smollett was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two white men, as reported by TMZ.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Chicago Police Department is calling the attack a “possible” hate crime.
The attack took place at 2 a.m. on the 300 Block of East Lower Walter Street. Smollett was exiting a Chicago restaurant when two suspects began yelling racist and homophobic slurs at him. According to police, the attack escalated when the two assailants proceeded to punch Smollett before pouring an unknown chemical substance onto his face. One of the assailants reportedly placed a noose around Smollett’s neck during the attack. TMZ is reporting that both men yelled, “This is MAGA country,” then fled.
The Empire star was treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for his injuries, where he was eventually released. Chicago Police Department is reporting that Smollett is in good condition and is working with law enforcement to catch his attackers.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.
Earlier reports stated that Smollett’s attackers wore two white men who MAGA hats, ski masks and shouted pro-MAGA statements. However, the Chicago Police Department have not confirmed or addressed this.
According to TMZ, Fox Studios received a letter addressed to Smollett eight days ago that said, “You will die black fag.” It is unknown whether the letter is connected to the attack on Smollett or if his assault was premeditated.
Anyone with information about Smollett’s attack is encouraged to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or send an anonymous tip to cpdtip.com.
Smollett has since received an outpouring of love from his fellow actors and his attack has spawned rightful outcry on Twitter. FOX Studios has also issued a statement regarding Smollett’s attack on Twitter.
— FOX (@FOXTV) January 29, 2019
DEAR GOD! Prayers and justice for Jussie Smollett.
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) January 29, 2019
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) January 29, 2019
.@JussieSmollett has always been a part of the TIME’S UP family. Our hearts are with him and the Smolletts, and all those who have ever been a target of this kind of despicable hate.
— TIME’S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) January 29, 2019
We ALL have a responsibility to rise up against the ignorance and hate out there. If you know who did this to @JussieSmollett, REPORT THEM TO THE POLICE.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) January 29, 2019
Our hearts are with @JussieSmollett today. This attack must be investigated thoroughly. According to @antiviolence, the severity of hate violence against LGBTQ people is increasing: https://t.co/hN0yNJEmov https://t.co/acWmjzBBzW
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 29, 2019
WE LOVE YOU, @JussieSmollett ! ! !
— Janet Mock (@janetmock) January 29, 2019
Let’s be real folks, what happened to Jussie Smollett was an attempted lynching & this type of shit is literally the same shit that our grandparents went through. But hey, I guess shit like this is exactly what Trump voters mean when they say they want to Make America Great Again pic.twitter.com/nwZYIN4soW
— ✊????Black Aziz aNANsi✊???? (@Freeyourmindkid) January 29, 2019
Check back on S&A for updates into the investigation on Smollett’s attack.