One of the stars of the Fox drama series “Empire” was attacked early Tuesday morning in what Chicago police say may have been a hate crime.
Police said Jussie Smollett was attacked by two people “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs,” who “poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim,” according to CNN.
Smollett, 36, is a former child actor who appeared in “The Mighty Ducks.” He plays Jamal Lyon on the Fox series.
“According to police, one of Smollett’s alleged attackers also put a rope around his neck. Both fled the scene,” CNN reports. “Smollett took himself to Northwestern Hospital and ‘is in good condition,’ police told CNN.”
In a statement, police said: “Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”
Smollett reported being shaken and angry over the incident. He also told CNN that he fought back against the attackers.
In a statement, a representative for 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said: “We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our ‘Empire’ family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice. The entire studio, network and production stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own.”
The CNN report notes: “Smollett has starred on Fox’s ‘Empire’ since 2015. He plays Jamal, a successful singer in the musical Lyon family. Like his character, Smollett identifies as gay.”
The actor had recently received a threatening letter using racially charged language and homophobic slurs, according to media reports.
Here’s a discussion of the incident on “The Talk” …