“Empire” star Jussie Smollett is recovering following an attack that authorities are reportedly investigating as a hate crime.
As reported by TMZ, Smollett, 35, had traveled from New York to Chicago and was exiting a Subway at 2 a.m. Tuesday when he was approached by two white men wearing ski masks—one of whom yelled, “Aren’t you that f**** ‘Empire’ n****r?” before attacking the openly gay, black actor.
Sources told the tabloid that the men attacked Smollett, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck before saying, “This is MAGA country.”
CNN, however, reports that police have not officially identified the liquid poured on the actor as bleach; they indicated the suspects “poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim.”
The men reportedly fled the scene after the attack.
Smollett was hospitalized for a fractured rib and released early Tuesday. Chicago police released a statement that confirmed they’re treating the incident 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.”
A letter exclusively obtained by That Grape Juice Studios was reportedly sent to Fox Studios in Chicago, specifically addressed to Smollett, which read, “You will die black f*g,” from cut-and-paste magazine clippings.
The letter also appears to show a red stick figure being shot with a gun.
Does this say "MAGA" up the top? pic.twitter.com/immIc4pQcU
— Yoongi's giggle (@jsmith189) January 29, 2019
Sources told TMZ that the threatening letter was mailed eight days before Smollett was attacked.
Chicago Police Department just sent out this statement re:
Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/DxQswZn8xd
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 29, 2019
This is a developing story. Check back with CrimeOnline for updates as they become available. Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382.
[Featured Image: Jussie Smollett/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP]