Empire's Jussie Smollett Hospitalized in Racist/Homophobic Attack
'Empire's' Jussie Smollett Hospitalized in Racist/Homophobic Attack
The assailants allegedly placed a noose around his neck.
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Empire star Jussie Smollett was hospitalized in Chicago after being attacked around 2am GMT this morning, TMZ reports.
Their sources say two men wearing ski masks attacked Smollett and placed a noose around his neck.
That Grape Juice reports the openly gay actor recently received a threatening letter with magazine cut out letters that read, "You will die black f*g."
Chicago Police Department is investigating the incident. The 35-year-old was treated at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital and has since been released.
UPDATE: Chicago PD has released a statement.
"A 36-year-old man was walking at above address when two known offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him. The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim.
At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim's neck. The offenders fled the scene. The victim self-transported to Northwestern Hospital and is good condition. Area Central Detectives are investigating."
UPDATE:TMZ now reports that Smollett's attackers were two white men who yelled, "Aren't you that f***ot 'Empire' n*****?" at him while the actor was trying to catch the subway. After the attack, they allegedly yelled, "This is MAGA country," as they walked away. They also say the chemical poured on Smollett was bleach. This claim hasn't been confirmed or denied by the Chicago PD.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” said a police spokesperson, Advocate reports.
UPDATE: A Chicago PD spokesperson disputes TMZ's report that the attackers yelled, "This is MAGA country" or anything along those lines. "If that happened, it was not reported to police," said the spokesperson.
TMZ's detailing of the alleged exclamations are from anonymous "sources directly connected to Jussie."
UPDATE: FOX, the TV home of Smollett's show Empire, released a statement following 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 our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice. 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.”
UPDATE: Police told Out "that they currently have no description, including racial identity or gender, of the attackers."
UPDATE: Chicago PD has confirmed that Smollett still had the rope around his neck when he made contact with the police at 2:42 am and that he reported the attackers yelling, "This is MAGA country." The cast of Empire has also been assigned armed security in Chicago until they finish filming of the season.