'Empire' Star Attacked In Possible Hate Crime

Cover Image
Photo credit Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A man was brutally attacked Monday night by two people in Chicago who yelled racial and homophobic slurs.

The Chicago Police Department received a report on Monday night of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire.

A 36-year-old man, that TMZ has identified as "Empire" star Jussie Smollett, was walking in the 300 block of East North Lower Water Street when two unknown offenders gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him, police said.

According to police, the offenders began to attack Smollett and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victims neck. 

The TMZ report states the offenders yelled, "This is MAGA country" before fleeing the scene. 

According to TMZ, the actor arrived in Chicago from New York late Monday, and at around 2 a.m. he went to a Subway to get food. TMZ was told by sources directly connected to Smollett, when he walked out of the restaurant, someone yelled, "Aren't you that f***ot 'Empire' n*****?"

Smollett was taken to Northwestern Memorial where he was treated. He was discharged later Tuesday morning.

Police are treating the situation as a possible hate crime.

"Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime. Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators," said CPD Chief Spokesperson, Anthony Guglielmi.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com.

Statement on #ChicagoPolice hate crime investigation. We are taking these allegations very seriously and encourage anyone with information to report anonymously to https://t.co/yYAqzcVIfu pic.twitter.com/DxipALHXaz

— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 29, 2019

Smollett plays gay character musician Jamal Lyon, the son of Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) in Empire. He came out as gay to Out Magazine in 2016, a few months after "Empire" first aired on Fox.

20th Century Fox released a statement saying, “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.”

Lee Daniels, co-creator, executive producer, and director of 'Empire' took to Instagram in response to the attack.

"It has taken me a minute to come to social media about this because Jussie, you are my son. You didn't deserve, nor anybody deserves, to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called 'die f***ot, n*****, or whatever they said to you," Daniels said in the video. "You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that. It starts at home, it starts at home. We have to love each other, regardless of what sexual orientation we are; because it shows we are united on a united front and no racist f*** can come in and do the things that they did to you. Hold your head up Jussie. I am with you. I will be there in a minute. It is just another f****** day in America."

We got this @jussiesmollett ----------

A post shared by Lee Daniels (@theoriginalbigdaddy) on Jan 29, 2019 at 10:55am PST