By: Nate Morris
CHICAGO, IL – Empire star Jussie Smollett was brutally attacked while he walked through Chicago early Tuesday morning in what police are investigating as a potential hate crime.
According to police reports, the actor and singer had just arrived back in the city (Smollett lives in Chicago while filming ‘Empire’) and was looking for something to eat at approximately 2AM when he was approached by two men.
Sources close to Jussie told TMZ that one of the men yelled “aren’t you that fa**ot ‘Empire’ n****r?” before assaulting him.
Smollett allegedly fought back as the two white men who concealed their faces with ski masks put a rope around his neck and poured a chemical substance believed to be bleach on him.
As the men left, they reportedly yelled “This is MAGA country!”
Smollett made his way to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a fractured rib and other injuries before being released in “good condition”.
Reports indicate that the cast and crew of Empire were made aware of the attack early Tuesday morning in an emergency meeting. ‘Fox’ released a statement expressing their outrage and calling the attack a “despicable act of violence and hate”. The company vowed to “work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice”.
Celebrities and politicians alike have also taken to Twitter to express their outrage over the attack and send Smollett love and well wishes.
Just days before the attack, the actor allegedly received a threatening letter in the mail. The letter, first made public by ThatGrapeJuice.net, contained a drawing of a stick figure apparently meant to resemble Smollett hanging from a tree with a gun firing at his head, along with the message “You will die black f*g”, spelled out in cut out letters.
The word “MAGA” was written in red marker on the front envelope as the return address.
Police in Chicago are asking for the public’s assistance to bring the attackers to justice and have searched nearby stores and apartment buildings to try and find surveillance footage of the incident.