Jussie Smollet, popular for his work on Empire, has been hospitalized after being attacked on his way to order food earlier this week. Police are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime.
Late on Monday the actor flew back to Chicago from New York. He was reportedly on the way to get food at a Subway at 2 a.m. 300 block of East Lower Water Street when he was brutally attacked by two men who allegedly screamed at him, poured an unconfirmed substance on him (some outlets report bleach) and then wrapped a noose around Jussie Smollet’s neck.
The initial police report about the incident does not mention details, but outlets including TMZ are reporting one of the suspects yelled “This is MAGA country” during the attack. The outlet also reports that attackers shouted homophobic slurs at the actor after recognizing him from Empire.
The initial police report reads as follows:
As of Tuesday morning, Jussie Smollett had been taken to Northwestern Memorial and had been released after treatment.
Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, and CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Tribune:
People on staff were reportedly already on set to shoot today’s episode of Empire when the news broke. There have allegedly been talks of increasing security on set as the rest of the season unfolds. Fox has spoken out to say the studio will work with authorities and that the network is "deeply saddened and outraged" by the turn of events. Jussie Smollett's representatives have no comment at this time.
Empire is currently airing its fifth season on Fox. Jussie Smollett’s character's storyline this season has revolved around dating and subsequently becoming engaged to new partner Kai, although since it’s Empire, no relationship is ever simple.
Jussie Smollett has previously talked about the storyline in Season 5, noting that it would be different than anything else audiences have seen on network TV previously. He said:
We’ll keep you updated on information as this story unfolds.
Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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