Jussie Smollett was hospitalized in Chicago early Tuesday, January 29, after he was attacked in a “possible hate crime,” Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirms to Us Weekly.
The Empire star, 36, was approached by two people who began “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs toward him,” according to Guglielmi. “The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”
The attackers fled the scene before Smollett transported himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He has since been released. Guglielmi tells Us that the actor is in “good condition,” and detectives are investigating the incident.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” the spokesman adds. “Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators, and we ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com.”
According to ThatGrapeJuice.Net, which was first to report the news, Smollett received a threatening letter days before the incident that read, “You will die black f-g.”
The actor has starred as Jamal Lyon on Empire for five seasons. He has also appeared in The Mighty Ducks (1992) and Alien: Covenant (2017), and is the brother of actor Jake Smollett and actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell.
Jussie came out as gay during a 2015 interview with Ellen DeGeneres. “It was a bigger deal to everyone than it was for me,” he said. “But at the same time I do understand why it is something to talk about.”
Us Weekly has reached out to Jussie’s rep for comment.
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