Empire star Jussie Smollett assaulted, hospitalized; hate crime suspected

Jamal -There’s some horrible news coming out this morning related to Empire star Jussie Smollett following an incident in Chicago.

According to a new report from TMZ, the actor arrived in Chicago from New York late overnight, and following that went to a Subway for a quick meal. (Empire is set in New York, but actually films in Chicago.) Upon leaving the restaurant he was apparently attacked by two men wearing ski masks and shouting homophobic and racist slurs at him. They allegedly proclaimed “this is MAGA country” and at one point, a rope was put around his neck and bleach was poured on him. It’s a horrific report of a brutal incident, one that never should have happened. Smollett was hospitalized and then released and seems to be in okay condition physically.

In a statement today, the Chicago Police Department makes it clear that an investigation is underway:

“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime … Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline.”

There is a chance that the attack was premeditated, as a report from That Grape Juice notes that Smollett was previously sent a threatening letter, one that included a drawing of him getting shot. Smollett plays a gay character named Jamal Lyon on the series, one who has been mistreated and tormented by other characters over time because of his sexuality.

We’re sure that Jussie will have the support of his entire Empire family as he works to recover from this incident along with all of his family and fans. Executive producer Danny Strong has already put out the following message via social media:

I’m deeply horrified and saddened by the racist and homophobic attacks against [Smollett]. He is a kind and profoundly talented soul whom I respect with all my heart. The terror of racism and homophobia has no place in our society, it is the most indecent way to live… whoever did this, do not forget that you are nothing but hate-filled cowards while Jussie’s talent and activism will continue to shine a bright light on to the world for decades to come.

This is still a developing story, and we imagine there will be more updates down the road. The most important thing is that Smollett is okay, and our heart goes out to him. No one should have to go through what he has and we hope those responsible for this despicable attack are brought to justice. (Photo: Fox.)

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