Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of Fox’s acclaimed TV music drama Empire had been ‘brutally attacked’ by two men in an alleged hate crime.
The talented singer/actor was reportedly attacked in the early hours of this morning by two men who ‘beat him up, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him’. TMZ states that the 35-year-old landed in Chicago late last night, and headed to Subway for food at around 2am, when he was approached by the two men in ski masks.
Sources say that the yet to be identified men in question asked him: ‘Aren’t you that f****t Empire n*****?’ before descending on him, ‘putting a rope around his neck and pouring bleach on him’. They reportedly screamed: ‘This is MAGA country,’ as they walked away.
TMZ reports the actor attempted to fight them off, but they overpowered him. He then managed to take himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment, and was found to have fractured a rib. A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department said they are investigating the incident as battery, and treating it ‘as a possible hate crime’.
‘The Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire,’ CPD Chief Spokesman Anthony Gugliemi said in a statement. ‘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. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators.’
Fans have flooded his Instagram posts with supportive comments over the ordeal, with one commenting: ‘Wishing you a speedy recovery and sending you sooo much love!!!’ ‘Get well soon sir! So sorry to hear what happened to you. Be blessed and stay safe,’ another said.
Jussie, who came out as gay in 2016 plays Jamal Lyon on the drama Empire. He has yet to publicly speak about the incident.