Out “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was reportedly attacked around 2 a.m. Tuesday in Chicago by two masked men who tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and allegedly yelled “This is MAGA country!” in an apparent hate crime, reports TMZ.
According to the TMZ report, “Sources directly connected to Jussie tell TMZ, the actor arrived in Chicago from New York late Monday, and at around 2 AM he was hungry and went to a Subway. We’re told when he walked out, someone yelled, ‘Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?’”
The 36-year-old singer and actor reportedly fought back but suffered a fractured rib during the encounter.
“They put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and as they left they yelled, ‘This is MAGA country,’” TMZ reported.
The attack may have been premeditated as the actor had previously received a crude, threatening letter in the mail with the words “You will die black faggot” rendered in cut-out letters.
The Chicago Police Department is treating the attack as a possible hate crime and released the following statement regarding Smollett:
Chicago Police Department just sent out this statement re:
Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/DxQswZn8xd
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 29, 2019
“We can not confirm what the offenders stated,” a Chicago Police Department spokesman told ITK when asked about any MAGA-related language in the attack.
Audio of the emergency call can be heard here.
Smollett was treated for his injuries at Northwestern Memorial and released Tuesday morning.
Police are asking that anyone with information regarding the attack contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report anonymously through cpdtip.com.
BREAKING: Police: "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was assaulted in Chicago on Tuesday by two men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him and wrapped a rope around his neck, the actor has told police; the incident is being investigated as a hate crime. https://t.co/NkOa5qjuIB pic.twitter.com/2xyQA0a5DL
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 29, 2019
GLAAD, an organization that tracks representation of LGBT people in the media, released a statement that said that it had reached out to Fox and Smollett’s team “to offer assistance as well as support for him.”
“Jussie is a true champion for L.G.B.T.Q. people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world,” the group said.
UPDATE: NBC News correspondent Miguel Almaguer reported on MSNBC that “police are looking for two suspects who were apparently wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats, though that has not yet been officially confirmed.”