Singer-songwriter and Empire star Jussie Smollett was hospitalized following what’s being investigated as a homophobic, racist hate crime, police confirm in Chicago late Monday night, according to TMZ.
Two white men wearing ski masks approached Smollett, who is openly gay and plays a gay character on Empire, outside of a Subway, beat him up, called him “that f—got Empire n—,” put his head in a noose, and yelled, “This is MAGA country.”
According to a statement from the Chicago Police,
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” reads the PD’s statement, adding that “an unknown chemical substance” was poured on Smollett.
Chicago Police Department just sent out this statement re:
Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/DxQswZn8xd
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 29, 2019
Smollett self-transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and is in “good condition.” Chicago police said they are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Before the attack occurred, Smollett reportedly received a letter with cut-out letters spelling “You will die black f*g.” Smollett has reportedly already been released from the Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The multi-talented 35-year-old came out as gay in 2015 in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
ThatGrapeJuice.Net posted a photo of racist and homophobic hate mail Smollett previously received, implying that the attack may have been premeditated.
Besides starring in Empire, Smollett recently had supporting roles in 2018’s Alien: Covenant and 2017’s Marshall, while also appearing as a guest host on Live! with Kelly for six episodes in 2016.