Jussie Smollett, the out actor best known for playing Jamal Lyon on Empire, was hospitalized after being violently attacked Tuesday morning. According to TMZ’s report, “the incident went down around 2 AM Tuesday in Chicago, and according to one report, 2 men wearing ski masks placed a noose around Jussie’s neck during the attack.”
According to journalist Philip Lewis, the Chicago Police Department said in a statement that Smollet’s attackers approached him “by telling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him” and that the attack is being treated as a possible hate crime. The statement, additionally, corroborated TMZ’s report that a rope was at one point wrapped around Smollett’s neck, and stated that after battering Smollett, they poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him. Full statement here:
That Grape Juice reports that Smollett recently received a piece of mail, in which the words “You will die black fag,” were spelled out using letters clipped from various sources and glued onto the page. Smollett came out on Ellen in 2015. In an interview with Out that that ran in 2016, he clarified: “If I had to label myself, I would label myself as a gay man. With that said, I believe that love is the only thing that matters, and I would hope that anybody would leave themselves open — not to gender, but to love....If I fall in love down the road with a woman, I’m going to love that woman.”
TMZ reports that Smollett has already been released from the hospital. The Chicago PD asks anyone with information to contact Area Central Detectives (312 747-8382) or report it anonymously using the Chicago PD’s TipSubmit website.
Update (1:07 pm ET): TMZ has added some details of the attack to its reporting:
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 2 men — both white and wearing ski masks — viciously attacked Jussie as he fought back, but they beat him badly and fractured a rib. They put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and as they left they yelled, “This is MAGA country.”