Authorities in Chicago say an actor was attacked in what is initially being investigated as a “possible hate crime.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Jussie Smollett was reportedly attacked early Tuesday morning while exiting a Subway restaurant in Chicago.
In addition to the homophobic and racist taunts allegedly shouted at the 35-year-old “Empire” star, earlier reports indicate he was the recipient of a threatening letter declaring “You will die black f*g” and displaying a hand-drawn image of a stick figure being shot.
That letter was reportedly sent on January 22 and contained an unidentified powdery substance.
According to ABC News, additional details have surfaced regarding the circumstances surrounding the alleged attack.
The FBI is reportedly involved in a probe into the letter sent prior to the attack. Two men are accused of taking part in the incident, which included tying a noose around Smollett’s neck and covering him in what officials described as “an unknown chemical substance.”
Investigators say the victim was discovered after the attack with the rope still around his neck.
Reports indicate police have reviewed surveillance footage prior to the alleged attack, which shows Smollett inside of an area Subway restaurant. As of the latest update available, investigators had not confirmed they had recovered any video of suspects.
Smollett spoke to police after the incident and said the assailants yelled offensive taunts and told him he was in “MAGA country” in an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.
The creator of the “Empire” series released a statement to the actor, insisting that he did not deserve the type of treatment described in the complaint.
“Hold your head up Jussie, I’m with you,” Lee Daniels said. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
The Fox series’ executive producer also issued a statement describing himself as “deeply horrified and saddened by the racist and homophobic attacks” against Smollett.
“We re deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our EMPIRE family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night,” Fox confirmed in its own public statement. “We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice.”
[Featured image: Jussie Smollett, Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP]