In the early hours of Tuesday morning, January 29, Empire star actor Jussie Smollett, was attacked in the streets of East North Water, Chicago.
Reports coming in from The Hollywood Reporter indicates that the 36-year-old actor was exiting a restaurant when two suspects began yelling racial and homophobic slurs towards him, which led to him getting punched and pouring an unknown chemical substance over him. One of the attackers later wrapped a rope around the actor’s neck, nearly getting him killed.
The Chicago police regards the attack as somewhat ‘a possible hate crime’ given the statement released by Smollett, confirming that at a point during the attack one of the attackers yelled, “Make America Great Again.”
“Overnight, the Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire. 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,” CPD Chief Spokesman Anthony Gugliemi disclosed.
Smollett, who gained international recognition after playing a gay character (Jamal) in the FOX drama series Empire, disclosed in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in 2015 that he self-identifies himself as gay, but open to possible chances of falling in love with a woman if it so happens.
Reacting to Smollett’s homophobic attack, GLAAD has issued a statement presenting their full support to Smollett and solidly standing behind the police to bring the culprits to justice. The statement read, “Our hearts are with Jussie Smollett as he recovers from a hate-motivated and repugnant attack in Chicago. Jussie has always used his voice to and talent to create a better world, and it is disgusting that anyone, especially someone who has done such good for so many would be targeted by undeniable hatred. GLAAD condemns these despicable acts as well as the racism and homophobia that drove them. Law enforcement needs to urgently conduct a thorough investigation and continue to be transparent with Chicago’s Black and LGBTQ communities who may be experiencing heightened fears of violence.”
The statement continued, “Jussie’s experience is sadly not unique in today’s America. Countless LGBTQ and people of color, as well as those who belong to both communities, are faced with hate-motivated violence on a near daily basis. We stand with Black and racial justice leaders to combat hate violence in all its forms.”
The actor is currently receiving treatment in a nearby Chicago hospital.